oppn parties Mamata Stops Meddling by Party Leaders

News Snippets

  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
  • Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress postpone meeting the governor of Maharashtra
  • Shiv Sena not to attend the NDA meeting on 17th November, says break up "a formality"
  • Shiv Sena says that the confidence the BJP is showing about forming the government in Maharashtra is based purely on its expectation of getting numbers through horse trading
  • Anil Ambani resigns as director of the bankrupt Reliance Communications
  • India beat Bangladesh by an innings and 150 rums inside three days in the first Test. Indian pacers excel after Mayank Agarwal's double century
  • Sena-NCP-Congress work out a common minimum programme, will form the government soon and it will last 5 years, says Sharad Pawar
  • Income Tax Appellate Tribunal upholds the decision to withdraw the charitable status of Young India, making it liable to pay Rs 145 in income tax. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra are the majority shareholders in the company
  • CBI raids offices of Amnesty International across India
  • Supreme Court quashes NCLAT order against Arcelor Mittal and paves the way for the company to take over ailing Essar Steel
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says concerns of telcos will be addressed and no company will close down
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
oppn parties
Mamata Stops Meddling by Party Leaders

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
After Mamata Banerjee cracked down on private hospitals for over billing, not being transparent and providing atrocious services (read the earlier article by Anukriti Roy), two things have happened. The first is along expected lines and is the usual practice in Bengal politics. The second is a refreshing and much wanted change.

As soon as Mamata acted on patient complaints to tell the private healthcare providers that they have to show a lot more accountability, leaders of her party took this as a cue to meddle in the affairs of these hospitals. Hospitals started complaining that they were receiving calls from TMC netas asking them to rectify and reduce bills. Bengal politics is marred by the habit of the state to meddle in all affairs of the citizen. The CPIM, in its 34 years of continuous rule, perfected this art to a nicety through block committees and salishi adalats, where local party leaders adjudicated on even matrimonial and property related issues of families. Once the government cracked down on private hospitals, TMC leaders perhaps thought that the government had given them a carte blanche to bring these institutions to heel. Such tactics often reach the level of blackmail, where organizations are asked to fork out huge sums of money to stop this interference.

But these leaders had not reckoned with a resurgent Mamata Banerjee. As soon as news reached her that party leaders were independently approaching these hospitals and harassing them, she issued an immediate fiat asking leaders at all levels to keep their hands off the issue. They were barred from contacting any hospital for their acquaintances or constituents. All complaints were to be routed through the concerned government department. This is a refreshing change and shows that Mamata is aware how meddlesome leaders can derail her positive initiative. Mamata Banerjee today is not what she was even a few years ago. Always a hands-on leader, she has come to realize that unbridled cronyism has brought a lot of negative publicity for the party. She has learnt to keep her flock in check and also learnt how to firmly keep errant leaders on a leash.

Private businesses can take corrective action when the government points out their digression. If they feel they are being unfairly targeted, they can make a presentation (backed by data, of course) before the government and seek relief. But when local leaders start taking advantage of any crack down to interfere unreasonably, and if the government gives them a free hand, businesses will have nowhere to go. Hence, Mamata Banerjee should be applauded for fighting for the rights of the patients but not allowing leaders of her party to take unfair advantage of the same.