Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

I am happy that my absence precipitated by circumstances beyond my control ends so happily.

People of the reserved constituency of Talsara in Sundergarh district, mostly illiterate and tribal, have heralded the end of the beginning of Navin misrule in the State by rejecting the candidate of the ruling alliance in the by-election to Orissa Legislative Assembly. I am happy, not for the victory of the Congress, which is nothing but a technical victory, but for the victory of democracy.

By rejecting the Navin alliance, the people of Talsara have established that to them the Country matters, not the rulers. This they have further proved by reducing percentage of votes the Congress has bagged in comparison to its earlier achievements. So notwithstanding who won and who lost, the people have succeeded in showing their allegiance to democracy. In rejecting the ruling combine and by reducing the percentage of support for Congress, they have silently spelt out their verdict against plutocracy that the Congress has clamped on our Country.

Dr. Prafulla Majhi has won the election, which was necessitated by premature demise of Gajadhar Majhi, thereby retaining the seat for the Congress. But it is not a victory for Congress. Technically it may be so, but politically not. Even the Congress did not fight the election politically. It was so much perplexed over its distance from the people or the vice-versa that it could not dare to set up its candidate till the last moment of submission of nomination papers. It knew that as a political party it cannot win. Therefore, it banked on personal popularity of the late lamented Gajadhar and picked up his relation Prafulla, not even a primary member of Congress and notwithstanding his status as a Congress candidate; it projected him, primarily and principally, as the relation of the demised leader to generate sympathy support. The strongest plea that the Congress could coin came from the mouth of the charismatic veteran J.B.Pattnaik as he expanded an idea that the soul of the departed leader Gajadhar Majhi was awaiting to see if the people still love him or not. That was enough to stir the heart of the tribal people, by orientation and traditional habit, strong believers in the role of souls as they are, to cast their votes in favor of Prafulla, Gajadhar’s relation. And thus the Congress bagged the seat. Hence it does not justify saying that the people of Talsara have voted for the Congress.

On the other hand, the Congress had not politically opposed the ruling alliance. Had it wanted, it could not have. The chaos that has engulfed the Country is initially created and cultivated by the Congress. It is Dr. Man Mohan Singh, who is the father of this chaos. As Narasimha Rao’s Finance Minister he had destroyed our “tryst with destiny” that Pt. Nehru had envisaged and had thrown us into the labyrinth of American Imperialism. Without permission of our Parliament, even without any direction from the central Cabinet, he subjected our Motherland to American hegemony by making it a signatory to General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) of WTO and in doing this he destroyed the soul of our Constitution that pledged for making India a Socialist Republic. So it is Man Mohan Singh who sabotaged our Constitution and made its Preamble inconsequential in directing our political economy. The Congress that had, for power, tolerated rise of the mafia within its fold even when Nehru was alive, many of its top brass hobnobbing with CIA as Piloo Modi had exposed in the Parliament and the cold war between Indira and Morarji had corroborated, had no other way than dancing to the tune of open-economy played by Man Mohan Singh. That the steps of Man Mohan Singh were calculatedly aimed at drowning Indian economy into chaos was established by the stock scam, which was encouraged by no other than Dr. Singh himself. His assertions in the floor of Parliament that he would not like to lose his sleep over fluctuations in the stock market was not accidental, but was an instance of cold-blooded pursuit of a strategy to transform Indian democracy to plutocracy. He had to stage a drama of resignation from the post of Finance Minister, after being censored by the Joint Parliamentary Committee that probed the scam, under full knowledge of how Narasimha Rao would be instrumental in sloughing over the adverse remarks of the JPC. Since then black money has flourished in India but we Indians, who pursue honesty in life, perish.

The scenario has never changed. The people had thrown the Congress out of power because of the era of scams Man Mohan Singh had ushered in under the Congress-raj headed by Narasimha Rao. Taking advantage of mass wrath against Congress, the other tentacle of plutocracy, the BJP, took over. It’s avowed aim being destruction of the pledge of Indian Constitution for a Socialist Secular Republic, immediately on grabbing power, it expanded the divestment policy formulated, adopted and advanced by the Congress. When word-acrobats like Arun Shourie, posing as financial philosophers, were busy in privatizing public sector undertakings and political parasites like Pramod Mahajan were emerging as millionaires and the BJP President was pursuing the goal of collecting commission money in clandestine deals and Ministers like George Fernandes were allowing their official residences to be used as collection booths of commission in matters of multi-crore purchases under their respective ministries and the black-money hoarders of all hue were really shining, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was applying all his oratory skills to make people believe that thereby India was shining. But people had refused to believe Vajpayee and despite BJP’s incomparably extravagant electioneering, Vajpayee was refused a fresh mandate.

By then Sonia was rising in the political horizon emitting new rays of hope. She seemed to have overcome her aloofness from politics specifically after assassination of her husband Rajiv Gandhi and seemed to have developed concern for the marginal cultivators and workers. People saw in her a determination to carry forward the agendas of her husband and therefore voted for Sonia. But grotesque as is the inside of Congress, she had to decline the majority choice and to declare Man Mohan Singh as her substitute for the post of Prime Minister. Of course, as the wife of Rajiv Gandhi she might have been privy to whom her husband could ever have looked at as a source of danger and that might have influenced her decision. If she gathers courage to reveal the truth someday, then only she may say as to what was the real cause behind her declining the top most position and declaring Singh as her choice. But by imposing Singh on India she has rather done a great disservice to the nation as ever since Dr. Singh has taken over as PM, the misfortune of Indian mass has increased many folds. The country has become the most congenial platform for plutocracy, the continuous rise in Consumer Price Index at par with rise in number of rich in the country and rise in concentration of wealth in their hands being an indicator. So, if anything, people are worse affected by the pro-rich policy of Man Mohan Singh and the Congress.

The poll results declared on November 2 has made it clear that though the people have given the seat to the Congress candidate and have decidedly rejected the BJP and its Orissa boss by default, Navin Patnaik, they have not voted in favor of the Congress. Decline in percentage of votes it bagged indicates this reality. Therefore, the Congress victory is the victory of the memory of Gajadhar Majhi, not of the party. Had it planted any candidate other than Dr. Prafulla Majhi, Gajadhar’s relative, it could never have won.

On the other hand, Talsara has not only rejected the treasury bench candidate, but also has reduced their vote rate. Navin Patnaik have taken up electioneering in support of his candidate in person. So eager was he to win the election at any cost that he went on contravening election laws through out his electioneering for which the Election Commission has already aired concern. All of his ministerial colleagues and MLAs and MPs camped in the constituency to gain over the voters. In spite of this, the BJP candidate, who was the collective candidate of the ruling combine, lost. The people refused to be hoodwinked by Navin Patnaik and avenged the death of their displaced brethrens by his Government’s bullets at Kalinganagar by their ballots at Talsara.

But this is not the conclusion. The Talsara voters deserve mention for the distinction they have earned by having deliberately and decisively rejected all the agents of plutocracy who were making a farce of contest only in order to ensure that either the BJP or the Congress wins. None of these fellows had raised any politico-economic issue while electioneering, thereby prodding the people into a state of Hobson’s choice between the aforesaid both. All of this nebulous lot has been rejected.

Another remarkable aspect of the Talsara verdict is the total rejection of Kosal concept. Non-Oriya businessmen, taking advantage of corrupt practices in administration have established their control over natural resourses of western Orissa and have spread their possession over the landed properties of the local people who mostly belong to scheduled tribes, scheduled castes and marginal agro communities. Lest the rest of Orissa comes to the rescue of these disadvantaged children of the soil, the said non-Oriya business operators and land-grabbers have formulated a wedge between the people of both the sides and have engaged clandestinely paid agents to whip up a demand for separation of the western Orissa from the rest parts of the State. If such a separation materializes, it is those non-Oriya blackmarketeers and land-grabbers, who only will benefit as the entire area would fall under their exploitative grip without any fear of intervention from any conscious quarter. The Kosal Raij Kriyanusthan Committee is an outfit of this evil design. It had planted a candidate in Talsara which geographically comes within the western part of Orissa and had tried to poison the minds of the people against the mother State. But the voters of Talsara have resoundingly rejected this pervert outfit. Its candidate has got only 820 votes as against 44,391 votes gone to the Congress and 41,816 bagged by the ruling combine.

Hence, the Talsara verdict is not only a verdict against Navin misrule, but also a verdict against the Congress as well as all the agents of plutocracy including the divisive outfit.

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