The issue raised by leader of Maharashtra Nav Nirman Sena (MNS), Raj Thackeray, deserves to be considered in a different perspective. Whatever Raj Thackeray is saying is absolutely immature and without understanding the ground realities and national politics. It appears Raj is playing into the hands of some vested interests. It is true that a large number of people from Bihar and Eastern UP are coming to Mumbai, mainly because there are no jobs available there.
People in these areas think that in places like Mumbai, which is the financial capital of the country, one may not be required to starve. In this context it is required to understand the economic policies pursued by the Central Government as well as the state politics and economics of eastern region of the country. Till 1967, the labour force from Bihar, Eastern UP and Orissa normally used to go to Assam or West Bengal particularly to Kolkata and neighbouring areas. But after 1967, when the Left Front Government came to power in West Bengal, the situation underwent a great change. The leftists trade unionism and the politics of gherao created lot of disturbances in Kolkata as well as in 24 Parganas where the industries were located and the industrial peace was disturbed and capital started moving out of West Bengal. A Number of industrial houses closed down their industries and establishments in Kolkata and after 1967 they either shifted to Delhi and nearby areas or Maharashtra particularly in Mumbai-Pune belt and that stopped the employment generation in West Bengal. In Assam the situation has not been different since last many years particularly after the ULFA movement started and due to the disturbances generated by the Bangladeshi infiltration or the ISI activities there were no employment opportunities in the eastern Sector. The poor people of Bihar or Eastern UP had no other alternative but to go to Delhi, Haryana Mumbai or nearby areas since employment opportunities were available there. Bihar was an industrial state earlier due to the coalmines and other minerals; but during the regime of Lalu Prasad Yadav, in last 15 years or more, the work culture of Bihar absolutely changed and no new capital investment is coming in the state due to Lalu'smisrule for many years. Another important factor is that the naxal movement, has gained ground in certain areas of Bihar and Jharkhand. As a result of this economic situation in eastern parts of the country, the labour force has no alternative but to migrate to such places where the employment was available. During Dr Datta Sawant'sstyle of trade unionism, the industrial climate in Maharashtra and around was not peaceful and in that period most of the textile mills were closed down. But eventually the situation in Maharashtra underwent change and Dr. Datta Sawant'sphenomenon proved to be a short lived one and the economic climate improved and hence people have been coming to this part of the country in expectation of getting jobs. The agitation started by Raj Thackeray is absolutely without any understanding of the problems and the economic climate in the country. The right approach ought to have been strengthening the political forces in the state, which has a nationalist outlook.
After the formation of Government by BJP and Janata Dal (U) in Bihar the situation has undergone a change in the last couple of years. If this Government continues for a longer period, the economic development will start in Bihar, which will generate employment in that state itself.
Raj Thackeray approach is a very short sighted one. This kind of agitation will weaken the nationalist forces and those who are keen in starting the developmental activities in their respective states. In case Raj Thackeray wanted to create an agitation he should have done so against the leftists or the destructive force likes Lalu and others instead of raising tirade against the poor labour-class who had migrated to Mumbai or around in the hope of some job opportunities.
Raj Thackeray should understand the politics and economic situation of the whole country and also the background of the same. This kind of agitation will strengthen the anti-national forces particularly in the eastern sector of the country where there are large number of Bangladeshi infiltrators. Asking people to go out of Maharashtra by itself will not solve the problem, what is necessary is that the employment potential all over the country should be increased and the right kind of atmosphere should be generated in all the states and the forces which are pro-development and those who are keen in strengthening the unity of the country should be strengthened in coming elections.
Raj Thackeray is also not even aware of the social fabric, which unites this country. He may not be aware that even in places like Assam there are people who are inspired by reading Savarkar and by the deeds of Chhatrapati Shivaji. In Places like Bihar, large communities consider Shivaji or Lokmanya Tilak as their ideals. I remember an instance, which I myself experienced about 15 to 20 years back in Patna. I had gone there for some court work and when I reached Patna I found that the whole city was decorated with saffron flags and big photos of Shivaji and Lokmanya Tilak. First I thought, probably some Hindu organisations must have organised some function/meeting. On enquiry I was told that the Kurmi community, which is a large community in Bihar, consider Lokmanya Tilak and Shivaji as their ideals and it is their rally which is being held in Patna. I was astonished to hear this. Raj Thackeray who talks a lot about Chhatrapati Shivaji and his ideals must realise this aspect, which unites the country. If he reads the political history of the country, he will never get involved in such kind of petty agitation which will not lead the country anywhere; but will help anti-national forces in the country. What is necessary is a positive outlook, sincere efforts to understand the economic, social and political problems of this country.
I hope wise counsel will prevail.
(The writer is senior advocate and member of BJP National Executive Committee.)