|Vol. III, No. 37. 25 Vaishakh May 8, 1950, Annas Four – Air Mail-/4/6|
Election Drums, Injustice, Chandranagore
Economic planning has always been the rage with our leaders and statesman for the last so many years, and the other day saw a ‘befitting’ climax. Last week's “Planning Corference of the Chief Ministers of States, Presidents of State Congress Committees, and members of the Congress Working Committee, the Congress Planning Committee and the National Planning Commission” was pretty high-sounding. What it aimed at or achieved, is however, a very different matter. To many cooks generally spoil the broth and it is hard to see why it should be otherwise with too many economic planning bodies.
The subject of planning has always been absturse for the man in the street and the vague platitudes which passed for resolutions in the Delhi Conference have done nothing to remove that abstruseness. On the other hand the points in the speeches that were clear and needed emphasis had nothing to do with economic planning as such. These were that public enthuiasm must be roused to support any adopted plan, that the Congress must make up its mind about what it wants, that friction between Congress Ministers and Committees must end, that there must be equality of sacrifice and finally that an ounce of executed plans would be weightier than a pound of grand blue-prints.
Congress has nothing to do with any solution of our economic problems. If our economic planning is to solve economic problems the first thing to be done is to liquidate all economic committees in order to provide a clear field for the National Planning Commission, the most authoritative planning body in free Bharat. Let there be one planning commission and let there be one plan. A host of committees and a pile of theoretical plans are by no means going to be our economic salvation. And the sooner we realise it the better.
The Republic of Bharat is to go to the polls with seventeen crore voters, the biggest electorate in the world. June-end is fixed as the dead-line for the preparation of electoral rolls. Which means the government are now anxious to have done with the elections without any further postponement. The hurry is not without cause. For daily the ground of public support is slipping away from under the feet of the Congress Government. Had not this frightening realisation increased the palpitations of Congress hearts the Representation Bill would not have been rushed through in the last day of the Session, in the face of demands for fuller discussion.
The rolls in different States are either ready in the rough copy or under print. And their completion is reported to be going on briskly. But all is not well with them. As Bakshi Tek Chand pointed out in the parliament, electoral rolls in various provinces, especially in the Punjab are not only highly incorrect, but, it is reliably learnt, highly tinkered with and manipulated by vested interests.The Congress regime is fairly on its way to becoming a police state and in a police state elections are too nice and tidy to be true. Had there been a free press in our country the election drums would have by now begun to beat merrily. But it is not so.
Chandranagar returns to us after 250 years of separation and may well be the harbinger of territories returning to the mother country. For this erstwhile French settlement is the first foreign “pocket” to be re-united with the country since the advent of freedom in 1947.
It will be recalled that following a declaration by the French Government allowing t he people of the French Settlements to decide their own future through referendum the people of Chandranagar in June 1919 almost unanimously voted in favour of merger with Bharat.
But here we cannot but sound a note of warring. The Government of Bharat’s acceptance of referendum to settle the fate of integral parts of the country—though politically under foreign control—is unwise. This precedent, though it stood by us in the case of Chandranagar, may not necessarily and even possibly do so in the case of say Pondicherry or the Portuguese settlement of Goa, Pondicherry; for instance is known to be a, hot-bed of Communists, while as for Goa the attitude of the Portuguese Government is notorious.
Hence while welcoming Chandranagar back with all heart, we would caution the Government exercise all care that the unnecessary and even harmful precedent of referendums in such case does not deprive up of our rightful territory. n