Politics in West Bengal has a history of violence and intimidation. During the Left regime, political violence became the norm rather than the exception. And Mamata Banerjee, who has herself been a victim of political violence, is merely carrying forward CPI (M)’s legacy. The Trinamool Congress never really distanced itself from hooliganism, rather it embraced with open arms the tactics which had helped CPI (M) keep a grip on the opposition for so long.
Following TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay’s arrest by the CBI in the Rose Valley Chit Fund case, goons from the ruling party in West Bengal attacked BJP’s headquarters in Central Avenue injuring 15 in the process. Not satisfied with pelting stones at the BJP headquarters, TMC goons also bombed senior BJP leader Krishna Bhattacharya’s house. The leader had to be taken to the hospital following the atrocious assault. If even that wasn’t enough, TMC goons attempted to break through the gates of Babul Supriyo’s house at Kailash Bose Street, Kolkata.
That BJP has become the primary opposition to TMC in West Bengal dethroning the Left from its unsavory situation is abundantly clear from the manner in which Mamata Banerjee has been reacting to the Hindu Nationalist Party in recent times. Somewhere between BJP being totally irrelevant in Bengal politics to becoming the predominant threat to the TMC, to Didi, everything which had hitherto been labeled a trick of the CPI (M) became a Sanghi conspiracy, everything which was previously blamed on ‘Maowadis’ began to be blamed on Sanghis, everything which had hitherto been pinned on the Left suddenly began to be blamed on political conspiracies by the Narendra Modi led NDA government at the Center.
Political violence is in the DNA of West Bengal Politics. Some might argue, and with good reason, that political violence and Democracy are inseparable, their love affair has always been rather youthful in its virility. Of course, it is not always apparent on the surface but a careful observation would reveal that political violence has existed in some form or the other in every democratic nation since its conception. However, most nations seem to have evolved out of that phase but India is showing little signs of recovering from the malaise that all democratic nations have to constantly battle.
The law and order situation in Didi’s Bengal has been deplorable for quite a while now. The communal riots at various parts of the state and the utter inability, rather unwillingness, of the state machinery to prevent the attacks has become almost a hallmark of Didi’s regime. Very recently, Rupa Ganguly was attacked by hooligans associated with the TMC following which she had to be immediately hospitalized for effective treatment. Meanwhile, Didi is busy protecting corrupt politicians in her party and attacking Narendra Modi as Bengal degenerates into chaos across large parts of the State.
Consistent with expectations, Mamata Banerjee has called the arrests of her MPs another instance of political vendetta by the BJP and launched into a tirade against the central government which soon dissolved into an incoherent rant. Quite unexpectedly one might say, or a rare instance of unwavering honesty by others, Mamata Banerjee admitted that it was no big deal even if Sudip Bandyopadhyay accept 2-3 lacs for the purpose of elections. It is pretty clear now that Mamata Banerjee’s definition of integrity differs significantly from our own. To add a twist to the drama, TMC’s Chandrima Bhattacharya has filed a case against the CBI over Sudip Bandyopadhyay’s arrest. It seems Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal are having a private competition over ridiculous antics.
Thus far, Mamata Banerjee, as has become the norm, hasn’t made any public appeal to her party workers to stop the vicious attack against the members of an opposition party. In such a scenario, we have to assume that the attacks against BJP are happening with the tacit approval of the Chief Minister of the State. We can only hope that Mamata Banerjee won’t wash her hands off from the horrendous attacks against BJP leaders saying, “Nothing happened here”, like she did with the riots at Dhulagarh. But knowing Didi even that cannot be ruled out completely.