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Victims of Self-Serving Mamata And Her Outrages

Bengal CM could not yet identify who really "protects" the country and who really endangers the country.  Here the big irony is that Didi’s “unconstitutional misdeeds”;  her outright cruelty towards some and preferential treatment towards others hardly hit the headlines and  nor is she brought into question.

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Mamata Banerjee
If one sincerely analyzes the postures and gestures of Ms. Mamata in her tenure of the past 15-year, one just becomes deeply apprehensive.

By: SALIL GEWALI 

How does one describe the tantrums that have often been thrown by W. Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee? Much has been heard of her insincere rhetoric. But they are just accepted as politically correct. She has larger section of elite fraternities who have fallen for her, and her “likes” and “dislikes”. Therefore, no outcry of protest even when Rohingyas were welcomed by Didi. Instead, many hearts melted and sympathies were expressed. ‘They are tortured and deported from Myanmar, so India should be kind to provide them the shelter on humanitarian ground’ – this narrative of humanity was tactfully put forth while other activists kept mum. Here in India people are smart and know well how to juggle with“silence and noise”.

A few days back Didi has begun a sit-down drama with the gaze towards the Center. WB CM in her flip-flop has now willfully stepped on the toes of the very constitution of the country. She had also unchained the police forces and set them on CBI! What does one call if the sit-in strike is by CM and the Police officers together against the Central Government? This strange dharna has been dubbed by Mamata’s allies as a Dharma. Never was the chit-fund less fun for the CM and her followers though it brought countless poor people to grief. Lakhs of families have had fallen into ruin. SIT is just an eyewash.

Bengal
A few days back Didi has begun a sit-down drama with the gaze towards the Center. WB CM in her flip-flop has now willfully stepped on the toes of the very constitution of the country.

If one sincerely analyzes the postures and gestures of Ms. Mamata in her tenure of the past 15-year, one just becomes deeply apprehensive. Her intense love for the votes has long soiled her sacred Sari. And her love for the currency “notes” has apparently driven away the saintly soul which she often claims to carry. Of course, she shrewdly capitalized on her sainthood from the very beginning, but mostly for the wrong ends.

Without a sense of guilt, she had sent the brute force to the Hills in 104 days of bandh that left 13 Gorkha citizens dead. Many of those killed were also the “siblings” of the soldiers that are now protecting the nation from the enemy, standing day in day out along the rugged and icy Indo-Pak boarders. Bengal CM could not yet identify who really “protects” the country and who really endangers the country. Under the instruction of DIDI the Bengal police forces in Siliguri had blocked even the essential food items to Darjeeling. All leaders have turned their back on the aggrieved Gorkha people who have been crying for the identity and land for over a century. Nor any efforts are made by the media to assess the real plight of the aggrieved Hills’ people. However, Didi’s heart always goes out to the guests from across the broader whom she has brought in millions and awarded them the first-class citizenship. Here the big irony is that Didi’s “unconstitutional misdeeds”; her outright cruelty towards some and her preferential treatment towards others hardly hit the headlines and nor is she ever brought into question.

Bengal
Didi has a brigand of other colleagues who carry the same ideas, same agendas, and the same mission.

Well, Didi has taken many such steps that have already started to “pose” potential threats to the original Bengali. It is quite clear now that she has “sown” the seeds that are going to be grown into the jungle of nettles. They will surely and hurtfully sting not only the body but the heart and soul of the citizens of West Bengal and other states. What with her TMC Cadre? They are legitimatized goons, the most beloved in the state.  Hardly any FIRs are accepted against TMC’s misconducts and brutalities.

Also Read: Students From Abroad Must Come to India For Higher Studies, Says PM Narendra Modi
Now coming back to the present case. Today Didi looks intensely fearless, she has been very emboldened. She even openly challenges the enforcement machinery from the Center. Making gross misinterpretations of the constitution is what she is exceptionally good at.  Many federal guidelines and regulations are just non-existent for the present West Bengal.  No wonder, Didi has a brigand of other colleagues who carry the same ideas, same agendas, and the same mission. This only makes her more invincible and more ferocious. True, soon after the unprecedented standoff between Police and CBI, Didi has received bountiful best wishes from Rahul, Sitaram Yechury, Chandrababu Naidu Mayawati, Mulayam Singh, Lalu Pd Yadav, Kejriwal, et al.

   Please kindly note, her well-wishers also include those forces who want to see India being broken to pieces. Here one wonders when people could tell apart Didi’s Sanyasini outfit and her true character. Let’s be smart before it is too late, else the country is never going to be in safe hands.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali.

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Algeria Poses a Serious Economic Challenge to Future Government

Besides the popular uprising at home, the current rulers must also keep an eye on regional hotspots, including neighboring Libya

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politics, africa, algeria
A protester chants slogans during a demonstration against Algeria's leadership, in Algiers, April 12, 2019. VOA

The tens of thousands of protesters who have taken to the streets for an eighth straight week aren’t the only crisis roiling Algeria. Helping to drive the unrest in Africa’s largest nation—and posing a serious challenge to any future government— is the economy.

Two months of mass demonstrations continued Friday, as Algerians pushed for a broader overhaul of the country’s system, despite elections set for July 4 by newly appointed interim leader, Abdelkader Bensalah. The protests have been largely peaceful, although there were some clashes reported this time along with scores of arrests, and police used water cannons and teargas in the capital Algiers.

“Bensalah, clear off, FLN clear off,” protesters chanted, referring to Algeria’s ruling party.

But many are also calling for a fundamental reboot of the country’s ailing, energy dependent economy that has failed to diversify and deliver jobs to its majority-young population. The unrest, in turn, is adding to Algeria’s economic headaches, analysts say.

“The economy is not in good shape,” said Paris-based Algerian analyst Alexandre Kateb. “The protests are the last straw, but the economic problems go deeper than that.”

algeria, politics
Tens of thousands of Algerians are seen gathered for a demonstration against the country’s leadership, in Algiers, April 12, 2019. VOA

Critics have long accused a power elite surrounding former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika of mismanagement and corruption, arguing a large chunk of the wealth is pocketed by a privileged minority. But for years, Algeria’s oil- and gas-rich economy served as a salve for a restless nation, helping to bankroll housing and other social subsidies.

It may be one explanation, some say—along with the country’s devastating 1990s civil war—why the broader Arab Spring uprising of 2011 failed to take off in Algeria.

Falling oil prices

But plummeting oil prices several years later helped to thin wallets and sharpen grassroots anger. Today, more than one-quarter of people under 25 are unemployed, and many Algerians work in the country’s vast informal sector. Successive governments have failed to privatize and capitalize on promising sectors for development such as tourism and agro-industry.

Earlier this week, the International Monetary Fund downgraded the country’s 2019 forecasted growth to 2.3 percent, from a previous 2.7 percent last October.

“The main motivation is still political,” analyst Kateb said of the protests. “But if the economic situation was better, probably the momentum would be less important. We would not have seen the magnitude of the protests that we see now.”

In the immediate future, Algeria’s economic woes may take a back seat. Besides the popular uprising at home, the current rulers must also keep an eye on regional hotspots, including neighboring Libya.

“From an interim government perspective, it’s just about maintaining stability and avoiding any real crisis beyond where we are at the moment,” said Adel Hamaizia, a North Africa expert for London-based think-tank Chatham House.

Algeria, politics
Young people chant slogans during an anti-government demonstration in Algiers, Algeria, April 10, 2019. VOA

“But whoever comes in really has to finally lead an ambitious economic program,” he added, “which helps Algeria realize its potential, develop an independent private sector, diversify, and attract investment on the correct terms.”

Those challenges are daunting. The ruling National Liberation Front or FLN party, in power since independence, has had little incentive to change a status quo that benefited them, many analysts say. Algeria’s business climate has been a turn-off for foreign investors. A case in point: a rule stipulating 51 percent of company shares must be owned by in-country nationals or businesses.

Although energy production continued to chug on during Algeria’s so called “black decade” of violence in the 1990s, further growth stalled. When he came to power in 1999, Bouteflika was credited for ushering in peace. At the beginning, analyst Kateb said, the former president also tried to reform the economy.

“I think he really wanted to give more freedom to entrepreneurs, he really tried to privatize the system,” Kateb said, adding subsequent financial scandals and the global financial crisis ended hope for change.

Inertia and bureaucracy

Kateb, who later served as an economic advisor to ex-prime minister Abelmalek Sellal, said subsequent reform efforts also stalled.

“If you don’t change the whole functioning of the system,” he said, “whatever you do at the margins will be completely absorbed by this inertia and black hole of government bureaucracy.”

algeria, politics
An elderly woman confronts security forces during an anti-government demonstration in Algiers, Algeria, April 10, 2019. VOA

If July elections go through as planned, Algerians will be strongly pushing for economic deliverables.

“I’m sure the many of the slogans are going to be centered around anti-corruption, inclusive growth, economic justice, diversification, and job creation,” said Hamaizia of Chatham House.

For the moment, there appear few clear candidates to champion such causes. Both the country’s ruling FLN and traditional opposition parties are largely discredited in the eyes of many Algerians.

Earlier this week, however, the interior ministry announced licenses for 10 new political parties, Reuters news agency reported, citing Algeria’s Ennahar TV channel.

Analyst Kateb believes the country needs a technocratic government to steer through needed changes, at least over the next few years.

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He believes there is no lack of talent to staff it, both in Algeria and abroad, where thousands of young professionals have flocked in recent decades for lack of opportunities at home.

“Now they’re not really considered,” Kateb said, “and this has to change.” (VOA)