Even when the results of the exit polls of the 13th Lok Sabah (Lower house of the Parliament) were pouring in, the caretaker government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced a steep rise in prices of petroleum products. This was the first harsh blow showing what was in store for the impoverished masses of India under this reactionary NDA (National Democratic Alliance) regime.

While the streets of Seattle may have dragged some of the issues surrounding liberalisation into a wider public consciousness, the newly elected right wing Indian government, supported by the main Congress opposition, is driving full steam ahead with its programme of economic reform.

During the month of January we saw some very important strikes in India. The dock workers paralysed Indian ports for 5 days, The UP electricity workers went on strike for 11 days, etc. The state used harsh repression (including sending the army to the ports) against these movements. Yet very little of this was reported in other countries. Sara Glynn reports from Calcutta.

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