Ramesh Venkataraman feels that “[t]he problem with reforms is not with the Left,” but with the Right. He writes in the Indian Express:
Liberal economics must shed the taint of being the “dogma of the rich” that the Left has attached to it and liberalisation shown to be in the best interests of the broader populace. This means that our champions of reform have to leave their elite, English-speaking circles and plunge into the rough and tumble arenas of vernacular India to openly challenge the Left’s monopoly on speaking for “the people”. For instance, why can’t the case for relaxing restrictive labour laws be made in terms of creating opportunities for the millions of young people coming into the workforce every year all across the country? Or why not present PSU privatisation as eliminating the squandering of government funds, a material fraction of which comes directly or indirectly from taxes borne by lower income groups?
There are three reasons to be cautiously optimistic that the language of economic liberalism will strike a responsive chord amongst the people. First, anti-statism is arguably closer to the ethos of much of India’s population and, right from the days of the Indian National Congress, has appealed to a core electoral base. Second, the fruits of reform are now enjoyed by a broad swathe of our society, not just the middle classes. Finally, the exposure provided by satellite television, combined with the increasing reality of upward mobility in our society, is giving even those who are not yet beneficiaries of liberalisation a stake in its success.
Yes, we need a Swatantra Party. But who will step forward to build one?