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India is the biggest working democracy and just one person’s sanity keeps it going. And that is Mamata Banerjee, the predictably mercurial Chief Minister of the state of West Bengal and the leader of  the Thrinamool Congress Party, whose 19 members of parliament keep the stability of the Indian Government.

If Mamta goes mad, India can go mad and it looks like Mamta has gone mad. It is not clear if she has gone really bonkers, but it seems she is really mad at her party colleague and the central minister for the Railways, Trivedi.
Mamta Banerjee decided to sack him on the very day he has presented to the parliament the crucial budget for Indian Railways. Thrivedi's crime is making small and nominal increase in the ridiculously low Indian rail fares  which no one is seriously complaining about, after 8 long years during which there was no hike.

That is really what makes every Indian really mad! Mamta is the leader of the Thrinamool congress, the biggest alliance partner in the ruling coalition who runs the Indian Railways and who has presented the Railway budget in the parliament today, announcing the over due hike to cover huge budget deficits. By evening, Mamta has already declared she won’t let the price rise proposed by her own party to be implemented. What does she take the 1,3 billion Indian’s for?

If ordinary Indians are just baffled by this incredulous behaviour of Mamta Banerjee, she had been driving her cabinet colleagues and the Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh nuts in recent months by objecting and obstructing almost every reform measures the government wants to and has tried to introduce to ensure the growth rate of India.

Like the flip flops she famously walks around in, her declared position towards the government had been one of vacillation on every issue, leaving everyone guessing what she will or won’t do in practice.

Coalition democracy everywhere is maddening. But no where has it such debilitating and disastrous effects as in the Indian politics, sabotaging any chances millions of poor people have to get basic amenities like food, water, housing education and health care ever in their lifetime.

The main factor, a lack of real internal democracy within political parties, which breeds arrogance and whimsical behaviour of leaders, especially female leaders, is to blame for the sad plight of millions of Indians.

Mamta Banerjee has a populist agenda. However like many a housewife in India she doesn’t bother where the money will come from. Mamta Banerjee may not be intelligent enough to grasp the intricacies of economics, but as a leader of millions of people who trust her to deliver on her promise to improve the quality of their lives; she has a responsibility to listen to those who know. For now her behavior in public give serious concern about her state of mind.

For the west and the US especially, who consider India as the place to be in for growth and business from multi billion dollar deals to create jobs back home, this mad embrace of populism by ultra sensitive female leaders of India must be a serious concern and a factor not to be missed in whatever projections they make.

Article first published as Why Should The US Worry If India’s Mamta Has Gone Mad? on Technorati

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