Monday, September 20, 2021
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West Bengal: Challenger vs Ruler

Amidst the ongoing Lok Sabha elections 2019 going on in multiple phases, it is one state that has attracted all the eyeballs, West Bengal. However, poll violence is not new to this state but surely the desperate measures being taken by the parties when the state actually seems into a transition phase again as far as the center stage of the power is concerned. The first phase was the Leftist parties taking over from the erstwhile Congress. Secondly, Trinamool Congress taking over from Left, and now it’s BJP which is trying to take it over from TMC. All these phases had seen desperate measures being taken by both the sides and this time is not an exception.

The current political fight and desperation from both the leadership and its leaders and cadres, BJP and TMC show their desperation and it indicates that Mamata is taking the challenge thrown by BJP actually very seriously and the BJP is seriously confident about its chances as well. However, the way these parties are taking each other head-on, it’s increasingly becoming interesting and bloody as well. We have seen a large scale of poll violence in Bengal in the recent elections which actually breaks the myth that only Left parties were violent with its ideology and actions. The fact of the matter is that violent elements are part of the society and they love to be in power. Whichever party is there in the power these elements join them and ideology means nothing to them.

The same has happened with TMC since it took over from left. The same violent cadres who once used to be a part of the left and perpetrated violence against TMC and Congress are very much part of TMC. And today the main challenger is BJP so more clashes are happening between them. We have seen many BJP workers being killed, many BJP leaders attacked (including its party president on Tuesday). Actually, the fight is not ideological, it’s all about power. The same Mamata Banerjee, who used to cry foul over illegal migrants issue and even demonstrated her anger in the Parliament, is the biggest saviour of them today and openly supports their permanent citizenship. The same Mamata Banerjee, who used to speak against violence by the Left, is today defending this violence against BJP. The same Mamata Banerjee, who used to cry foul over the independence of Institutions, today doesn’t shy away from attacking them when it comes to her own political interest or saving her own people. Be it CBI, Customs or Central forces for that matter. The same Mamata Banerjee, who used to be a champion of freedom of expression, had jailed one professor of Jadhavpur University over a cartoon of hers and three days back a BJYM convener over a meme of herself. In fact, the procedures of her arrest were not followed by the rules and when her remand was challenged in the Supreme Court Kolkata police is learnt to have disposed the charges silently and didn’t even inform the Supreme Court. The same Mamata Banerjee, who tried to become the champion of democracy, denied rally permission to many top BJP leaders, its President, and even some fellow Chief Ministers of other states. Bengal has witnessed many such instances and Amit Shah was again denied the permission just two days back — all these amidst the LS elections which is the largest festival of democracy. It shows that she has taken the challenge of BJP very seriously and considers them as a threat to her chair.

BJP at the same time, despite all these incidents, doesn’t seem to be giving up. More such attempts and more aggressive they go in the next step and more desperate measures by TMC in response. The latest example was the road show of Amit Shah on Tuesday in Kolkata. As reports suggest that it was one of the biggest road shows held in Kolkata in recent times and Mamata was challenged in her home turf by the top leadership of the BJP. Somehow, it was unacceptable to either Mamata or her cadres. While the roadshow was going peacefully and was passing by Calcutta University’s College Street campus, the members of TMC attacked the convoy with bricks and sticks. It is evident from the video and picture proofs that they were inside the campus of Vidyasagar College. The BJP workers also responded and threw stones and sticks on them from outside. The Police used the force outside to disperse the BJP cadres. Later on, it was found that during the clashes, the statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was broken by miscreants inside the campus. Both sides blamed each other’s cadres for the incident.

However, the fact seems to be something different. The statue was placed inside Bidhan Sarani Campus of Vidyasagar College inside a room. To get the entry, one needs to get inside two gates. The main iron gate of the campus which was guarded by police and locked and then a wooden gate which was also closed. The BJP roadshow was outside on roads and was crossing near the gates. The TMC cadres were inside the campus. Both sides attacked each other but who had access to the statue? There was CCTV surveillance at the statue but no proofs have been provided by the police or the state government that who actually broke it? It seems that it was a planned attack and an attempt to relate this issue to Bengal pride and identity. Nothing more to guess if we think logically but we can reach to the conclusion only after the proof reveals it and the onus lies on the local police and government. After all, this several BJP leaders along with Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga were arrested from their hotel rooms in midnight without any charges. The statements that came from TMC and local leaders were that many outsider BJP leaders are camping there for the elections. Many from Delhi, UP, Bihar, and Gujarat and they all will be sent back to their states and they are not allowed to camp there. It’s an irony of TMC that they think that they are not a part of India and other states leaders cannot come to promote their party in the elections. Don’t think that any such bizarre comments might have come from any other states political party or leaders. It’s a national general election and the leaders are free to campaign in any state until and unless they are violating any electoral rules. So much for democracy? It seems the challenger has really made the ruler worried in Bengal.

(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on [email protected])

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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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