01 December, 2020

The Right Lessons From The Left

Though some of his estimates are rather ambitious, Chidambaram seems to have learnt to temper growth with distributive justice

Prashant Panjiar
The Right Lessons From The Left
The problem with trying to please everyone is that one could end up pleasing precisely no one. That is because the happiness can get spread so thinly that it is easy to ignore it altogether. When I used these words to describe the Union Budget for 2004-05 to Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, he was not amused in the least. He was appearing on a panel discussion on Doordarshan News and dared me to point out how he had tried to please different sections and, in the process, ended up disappointing most. Sitting next to him in the studio were Yashwant 'Roll Back' Sinha of the BJP and Nilotpal Basu of the CPI(M). By the end of the session, Chidambaram had vociferously refuted all the points of criticism against his third budget. His arguments were persuasive, but only time will tell whether the rhetoric would measure up to reality.

The UPA government depends on the Left for its survival. Yet it is not averse to taking decisions that offend the Communists—Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram, Montek Singh Ahluwalia and all the gung-ho reformers of 1991 vintage seem sanguine that...


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