This month has been a hectic one for political enthusiasts in the country, with Karnataka and West Bengal facing unpredictable and eventful elections. Karnataka Assembly elections remained top priority for the media houses but there were big reasons for the not so extensive coverage of the West Bengal Panchayat elections. The violence and pandemonium in the West Bengal elections were left without much coverage because it is a TMC ruled state. Mass scale murders and mob violence unleashed on all rival party workers by goons of the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress became daily news throughout the campaigns. BJP and other parties were even denied the freedom to campaign in TMC strongholds as candidates were not allowed to file nominations. TMC’s uncontested victory in Birbhum and major victories in other parts of West Bengal is indicative of the murder of democracy at grass root levels. The Left leaning national media will never show what transpired in the Panchayat polls, as their anti-BJP lens fails to see the ruckus created by other ‘liberal’ and ‘secular’ parties. News seeping through the closed doors have raised serious queries about the TMC’s win. Not just men and political workers but even women were not spared by the over-zealous TMC hooligans.
According to an article published in Hindustan Times on May 20, the wife of an ex-TMC worker was allegedly forced to wear a garland of shoes by TMC workers. The woman hailing from Kankabati Gram Panchayat had been protesting against booth capturing done by the TMC workers, and was demanding that elections be held democratically in her booth. The women hailing from West Midnapore district were also paraded around the village wearing a garland of shoes.
According to the lady, the booth was captured by TMC workers who were casting votes in their candidate’s favour. Her protests on the polling day led the TMC workers to believe that she was supporting the independent candidate. She was later called to the party office where she was confronted by angry TMC workers, who punished her by assaulting and making her wear the garland of shoes. She was forced to hold her ears while doing sit-ups as penance in the party office premises. TMC lost the seat to Sikha Paria and could manage 11 seats with BJP winning the other 4 from the area.
Angry TMC activists justified the punishment meted out to the woman, saying “She had insulted the party leaders and we will not spare if any one dares to do such,”. The woman as of yet has not filed a police complaint fearing further repercussions from TMC cadres. Other villagers did not dare speak out about the incident that took place on Friday afternoon.
This is not the first instance of a woman getting assaulted physically in West Bengal. The recently concluded Panchayat polls saw many such incidents where women were targeted and assaulted by TMC thugs. Rival candidates being prevented from contesting, ballot boxes being recovered from ponds, the murder of BJP and other party members have not proved enough to grab the attention of national media channels. The brutal murder of democracy in West Bengal is being sidelined by the media houses who are hailing Mamata Banerjee as the leader of the Third Front, come the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
People across the nation should be made aware of the “just rule” of the TMC in its home state. Mamata Banerjee has unfortunately fallen to the levels of CPI(M), giving them a tough fight in using violence. Mamata Banerjee and her ilk have unashamedly accused BJP and other parties of being undemocratic. Her own approach towards fair and free elections needs to be showcased to reveal her true side. West Bengal, if left to Mamata and her party, would soon be reduced to a fighting ring with destruction lying all around, where the people of West Bengal will be the collateral damage. BJP emerging as the second largest party in West Bengal Panchayat polls is certainly a good sign but is it enough? If we do not raise our voices against Mamata Banerjee and her dubious politics in West Bengal today, we should not act surprised if West Bengal burns in the years to come.