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Amartya Sen sets the agenda for Left parties

February 04, 2013 10:47 IST

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on Sunday urged the Left parties to raise the issue of sanitation and other basic needs of the poorest of the poor, apart from the issues of food security and LPG price hike.

"I am sometimes accused of being critical of the Left parties. I am particularly upset, when they go after the issues of cooking gas (price hike) and other issues. These are the issues of the middle class. But what about the issues of the poorest of the poor?" Sen asked while addressing a session at the Kolkata Literary Meet.

He also said that when newspaper headlines were splashed last year with stories of a major power blackout in north India, many missed out on the fact that for a third of the population, "it was not a blackout on that particular night, but an everyday reality".

Sen added that he felt particularly upset with the Left parties protesting on issues such as cooking gas and electricity prices and 'aam admi' pursuits rather than the broader picture.

Forty-eight per cent of the households in India have no toilets and people have to resort to open defecation, a problem that does not get addressed. The figure for China was one per cent while that of Bangladesh was between 9 and 10 per cent, he said.

Earlier on several occasions, Sen has raised the issues of open defecation and child malnutrition in the country.

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