Monday, May 7, 2012

Rise of Feminism: Hillary meets “killer giant” Mamata

In the most high-profile visit of a foreign dignitary to Kolkata in recent times, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today arrived in the eastern metropolis to discuss issues that might “interest the United States in the coming years”.

Predominantly, USA sees Mamta in a different way that most of the Indians fail to see. Hillary's visit seems quite significant considering Mamata's emergence as a regional leader in national politics, especially after she was considered as one of the 100 most influential people globally by Time magazine. So naturally she is the person the US has chosen to cultivate. Hillary also may want to know about the vision of Matma and her future plan for India not only for West Bengal.

Significantly, Mamta has proved herself as a political expert and her ambition to become Chief Minister is already fulfilled. She proved her leadership skills by ending 34 year communist rule in West Bengal. In 2014 central election, she may play a vital role or even she may aspire to become Prime Minister under the rotten system in the country. However, with populist slogans, can she change the lives of poor and common man. Her rigid attitude, intolerance, impatience, narrowness, impulsive action etc. are big testimony for lack of vision even for West Bengal. Some of the activities of her after becoming Chief Minister have showed her lack of leadership caliber.

By the way, speculations are also riffed that since the US secretary of state reached Kolkata after her meeting with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her three-nation Asia tour, she might have discussed India-Bangladesh ties with Banerjee, who is a strong opponent of any accord over sharing of Teesta waters between the two countries or the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail and other economic reforms in West Bengal. It can not be denied that there is geographical issue that she visits Kolkatta as she is coming from Bangladesh. Perhaps, the reason behind her visit to West Bengal may related to Obama’s idea to maintain relationship to the countries where economic powers are shifting. Moreover, having bilateral relationship with West Bangal would help US to have its power play in Mymanmar and Bangladesh.

Few days back, Mamta threatened central government to get financial aid to develop her state as West Bengal is facing bankrupt. In getting investments, Kerala looks gulf, Tamil Nadu looks Singapore or Korea, and the well developed Gujarat looks some other countries but not America. Therefore I wonder what made Mamta to open her state market for American investment. She might have thought Hillary visit is a jackpot to her and West Bengal.

Significantly, this visit may lead to increase in potential American investment in fields like IT or biotech where land requirement is comparatively les in the state. But if they look for FDI, I don’t think that Foreign Direct Investment in retail does not build India in any way; it only drains forex reserves and does nothing to build India's infrastructure. FDI in retail is reminiscent of the exploitation days of the British rule whereby raw materials were looted from India and finished products were sold back to Indians. I say, ban FDI in retail in India. Instead, Indian state governments should concentrate on building manufacturing facilities to manufacture these retail products indigenously for domestic consumption and not for export.

After the talk between these two key leaders, US has displayed keenness to invest in West Bengal as a partner state. And decided to help West Bengal in overcoming its debt as US believe that West Bengal has got potential to emerge as new IT hub. It seems they also discussed about the collaboration in education IT and health care. But America’s hidden agenda might be as communist which was uprooted by Mamta, so bring benefit to the people of the West Bengal. Otherwise they may well go back to communist. Hope Mamta will not buckle her leadership because of this new friendship; instead she will focus on nation building.

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