Trinamool is an anarchy that works: Kabir Suman (Election Special)
The Trinamool Congress "is an anarchy with an autocrat" at the helm but it's an "anarchy which works", says rebel MP Kabir Suman, describing a party wobbling in its efforts to create ripples at the national level.
"She (party chief Mamata Banerjee) is an absolute autocrat with no democratic values. In Trinamool, everything belongs to Big Mama," the Lok Sabha member from Jadavpur in West Bengal told IANS, quoting Gabriel Garcia Marquez's satirical commentary "Big Mama's Funeral".
"But then, much like (then US envoy to India) John Kenneth Galbraith had described India as a functioning anarchy, the Trinamool too is an anarchy that works," says Suman, an acclaimed singer-composer credited with having created a new popular genre of songs in Bengali.
Even as the Trinamool talks of a significant role in national politics and becoming the third largest party behind the Congress and the BJP after the Lok Sabha polls, Suman has reservations about Banerjee's bid to set up a Federal Front - a grouping of regional satraps like her.
"Except for the Trinamool, I don't see anybody excited about the Front. And as for Mamata becoming prime minister, I would be the first one to congratulate her if she manages to do it," says Suman, who last met the Trinamool supremo in 2011 at her swearing in ceremony as chief minister.
The 64-year-old blamed Banerjee's autocratic ways for his own fallout with the party.
"I wanted to quit, but stayed at the insistence of the people who voted me in. As regards Trinamool, I am surprised, they never expelled me. May be they can't afford to.
"Perhaps Mamata realises that her success is largely because of Mahasweta Devi's writings and Kabir Suman's songs that enabled the Trinamool make inroads into the urban masses and civil society," says the singer, who has rubbed shoulders with folk music legend Pete Seeger.
Observing that it is difficult for a first time MP to understand the nitty-gritty of parliament, Suman is unfazed at being denied a ticket this time by the Trinamool. He may contest as an independent.
"My health is degenerating very fast... Though highly unlikely, but if I contest, I will stress on development and poverty.
"Development doesn't mean you develop rocket science but your people go to sleep with empty stomachs," says Suman who defeated CPI-M's outgoing MP Sujan Chakraborty in 2009.
He said that in parliament he was "never given a chance to speak, not even once. May be if I was independent, I could have raised a few issues.
"Parliament is not a bad place.... one can do a few things. The Indian government has money. If there is a will, it can be used for development."
Radically opposed to any form of communal or theocratic politics, Suman says he cannot stand BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
"He has no secular or democratic values. I am radically opposed to him, to the BJP, and all forms of theocratic politics and parties."
He may have a soft corner for the ultra Left but Suman insists he is not a Communist.
"Are only the Maoists killing people? Every party has criminals. Just look at the number of people killed during elections. Maoists can't be our enemies, they are patriots.
"But that doesn't mean I am a Communist. In capitalism, at least, you will have a store where people can buy a Suman song. Communism is not my cup of tea."
For Suman, the most appropriate person to lead India for the next five years is Manmohan Singh.
"People may laugh at me, others may get peeved, but I would like to see Manmohan Singh yet again at the helm. His poise, his gentle ways and his knowledge, he is right up there, much the way I liked Atal Bihari Vajpayee."
(Anurag Dey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Posted on 17-03-2014)