ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Victors Dilemma

Not that these are promises easy of fulfilment. Two of the six States with non-Congress governments, namely, Kerala and West Bengal, do not grow enough food to feed themselves. Bihar, of course, falls into a special category this year, and there the new Government has not promised even enough food, but only that it will ensure that no one shall die of starvation. True, Punjab and Orissa are surplus States and in the past Madras has spared some rice for Kerala, but any hopes of spontaneous co-operation among the non- Congress Governments to smooth each other's paths are clearly unrealistic. Each government is struggling to establish itself, and it is not without significance that one of the first major acts of the DMK Ministry in Madras has been to seal the State's border with Kerala so as to prevent the smuggling of Madras rice across the borders. Technically, this is only an anti-smuggling measure since movement of rice out of Madras is already banned. In fact, however, attracted by the much higher prices in Kerala rice has been clandestinely moving into Kerala, and if the sealing of the border do- creed by the DMK Government is effective, it cannot but reduce the supply of rice in Kerala. Of course, there is the larger question of Madras supplying rice to Kerala on a government-to-government basis.

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