But for the fact that the joke is on the people of West Bengal
Not content with being an albatross around the UPA government’s neck, India’s voluble Communists are planning to picket an Indian Air Force base in West Bengal. AFS Kalaikunda will be the site for Cope-India 2005, during which the Indian and the United States air forces will engage in joint exercises and play out “cooperative security”.
West Bengal, of course, is India’s Communist heartland. Having sold anti-Americanism to their supporters for so many decades, and having recently excoriated Dr Manmohan Singh for furthering the transformation of India’s policy towards the United States, the comrades could hardly have been expected to miss the opportunity — one that landed in their backyard — to embellish their credentials in front of their home crowd. The Indian Air Force is not likely to be overly bothered about the commotion outside their base.
Communists actually running a government, whether in Beijing or in Calcutta, sadly have a job to do. But their counterparts outside government continue revel in the perverse pleasures of supporting the government but opposing every one of its policies. But the price of making this point comes at the expense of West Bengal’s decrepit economy. Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and his Asim Dasgupta, his finance minister are trying to change West Bengal’s image as a strike-ridden, unionised underperformer. So if Dasgupta postpones his trip to the United States — to attract foreign investment — the net losers will be the people of the state. But who said Communists care for the people?