Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Renewed rhetoric

ANIL PANDE says that the Madhya Pradesh CM is trying to win on the development plank. But his critics say that the strategy, if not inclusive, can prove to be worthless

Last year, in October, when corporate honchos were inking deals at the Indore Global Investors Summit, a substantial number of activists were protesting near the bust of Mahatma Gandhi at Regal Crossing, not far away from the investment summit. Among others, they were joined by activists from Narmada Bachao Andolan, and displaced farmers and tribals, who lost their land due to development projects in Neemach and Riwa districts. Needless to say, their feeble voices had no takers. The voices of the investors were amplified by the promised investments of Rs.120,000 crore.

The reason: in the last couple of years, development and good governance have emerged as vocal election planks. The days of ‘social engineering’ and ‘booth management’ have passed. Now, even people voting along caste lines expect a certain level of governance from their elected representatives. And, for a change, “governance” is determined on the basis of overall development. Poll pundits predict that as more youth participate in the electoral process, the development plank will continue to take a frontal position. At present, more than half of India’s population is constituted by people under-25 years.

In fact, development was one of the reasons why the BJP returned to power in Madhya Pradesh. Poor infrastructure did Digvijay Singh-led Congress government in. But now, the tables have turned. The BJP has completed four years in power. What’s more, development will once again be the frontal rhetoric in the forthcoming polls. Naturally, the BJP is worried. It wants to present a good report card to the voters. It wants development and the only way it can be done, says the BJP, is by inviting foreign capital.

That is why CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan is busy with his single agenda program. He has been successful in signing MoUs for projects worth more than Rs.225,000 crore in 2007 alone. Noted economist Alok Puranik finds foreign capital as the only way to initiate developmental projects in the state. Nevertheless, he wants the development to be inclusive. He predicts: “State governments focusing on investments in agriculture and manufacturing sectors have strong chances of returning back to power.”

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2012. An Initiative of IIPMMalay Chaudhuri
and Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).
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