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No Alternate Voice . . .
|by Ananya S Guha|
The crackdown on FDI was a very good opportunity for the opposition parties to unite against the UPA on a matter which could have become a significant national debate. The Trinamool Congress as usual threw tantrums, which seems to be its usual positioning and ended matters with a whimper and a bit of a noise at the end. The BJP said it would not supprt the former in a no confidence motion, and held its parleys, only to have the Party's Chief Whip making admonitory noises of recalcitrance. The BSP and the SP backed out in a typical Indian stance of political whimsicality. Finally it was left to the Congress and the UPA to have the last laugh and call shots.
The issue of FDI could have become an important point of national debate in Parliament. Instead of first initiating the debate in a healthy manner, the Oppostion parties threw caution to the winds by simply trying to upstage the present government, a tactic which they have been employing ever since the formation of the present government. The BJP has its own agenda, which is obfuscating to say the least, and the Left Parties can at best whimper, especially after the indignity it suffered in the last Assembly elections.
The entire question of the FDI is a conflict of interests, between the local and the global, so much so that even if we talk of the world being a global unity, the antinomy between what is indigeneous and what is global in the form of the rising market, international production of goods, the multi nationals cannot be ignored and designated as something which will be happily resolved, especially in contexts of third world countries like India, trying desperately to have rising economies of scale.
The matter is one of national concern, and although many have pooh poohed Gandhi's economic philosophy, we are now talking with bated breath of everything that is indigeneous. The local and the global in an economic context do not appear to have blended into a happy marriage. On the other hand foreign investors are more than keen to invest in foreign soil, especially in India because of the burgeoning of a middle class which has commodified everything in terms of procurement of material goods: televisions, mobile phones, fast food, junk food and what have you. The matter of concern is with the lower middle classes and the abjectly poor. The former somehow manages to eke out a living, and the latter cannot afford two square meals a day.
The question is: why has this been raised now?
When the left parties severed themselves from the ruling elite, it was on a similar issue. Why was the question not raised then? The Left was virtually ostrasicized and is of course now trying to desperately resusicate it self. But in fairness to them they backed out under the condition of a staunch principle, namely not allowing political brokerage to the US.
The whole issue has simply been politicized for short term gains, and not for any long standing vision. If it is the latter the same concern should have been shown when foreign investment was percolating the Indian Economy. To stir the hornet's nest now is simply political mileage and not any show of empathy or feeling for local artisans who live on a day to day basis or local productions which goes to the small time retailer, or for that matter the indigeneous production of goods.
So, long live the politics of chimera, the politics of expediency and oblivious to ground realities, including market realities.
The opposition unites to finally disunite. This has been the history of Indian Politics, speaking purely from political perspectives; and that is why there is no alternate voice in the Indian Polity.
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