Union Home Minister Amit Shah dropped a major hint Saturday about the possibility of President’s rule being imposed in West Bengal in the very near future owing to the collapse of law and order in the state and the dictatorial shenanigans of the ruling dispensation. Amit Shah is all set to micro-manage the upcoming West Bengal Assembly elections for the BJP next year, while also leading its campaign in the state. As such, the rampant political killings of BJP workers in the state is an emotive issue for the Home Minister. Effectively, for anyone to think that the absolute collapse of law and order in West Bengal is being ignored by the Modi government would be silly, at the very least.
Since 2014, the government of Prime Minister Modi, it would be safe to say by now, has learnt the art of striking at the very precisely opportune moment. Therefore, the hint dropped by Amit Shah about the imposition of President’s rule in West Bengal assumes significance. For a Home Minister who usually keeps his cards pretty close to the chest, saying that the government will take decisions on the issue by looking into the report of Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar is big, to put it conservatively. The Home Minister also called the demands raised by Bengal BJP leaders ‘correct’ and logical.
It is highly likely that the Centre will look to set aside the TMC government in West Bengal prior to the 2021 Assembly elections. It is no secret that the state with perhaps the highest levels of poll violence, election riggings and institutions being weighed against the opposition is West Bengal, ruled by the TMC. Further, the incessant political killings of saffron party workers in the state, as claimed by the BJP, is only working to the absolute detriment of TMC, as they themselves seem to be inviting the wrath of the Union government upon themselves.
The Home Minister will be looking to set a precedent with the imposition of President’s rule in Bengal, for all other state governments. If any state government turns hostile towards the health of electoral democracy and resorts to unabated poll violence, killing political leaders and rigging elections, they shall be unceremoniously thrown out of power. It must be remembered that leave alone acting against violent cadre from the party, the TMC and its supremo is outrightly dismissive about the fact that poll rigging and violence takes place in the state. As such, the menace of the incumbent in Bengal using brute force to desperately cling on to power becomes all the more a cause of worry, even as public perception goes polarly against them.
In 2019 General Elections, the BJP had entered West Bengal with a bang and won 18 Lok Sabha seats in the state from under the TMC’s nose. The vote share of the saffron party in 2019 stood at around 40 per cent, while the TMC’s vote hovered at 43 per cent. This, despite the fact that the saffron party waged a lone, life-threatening and extremely difficult battle against the TMC. The run-up to the polls was overcast with poll violence, killings and booth riggings. Despite such odds, the BJP garnering 40 per cent vote in the state shook the TMC and its supremo in their very boots, who have now taken to rather brazenly shed the very pretence of being democratic in their approach to public service.
To counter the TMC’s advantage, therefore, it is highly likely that the Centre imposes President’s rule in West Bengal in the run-up to the assembly elections. This will not only ensure a level playing field for all stakeholders but will also make sure that the TMC regime does not use the state’s institutions against political opponents – primarily the BJP. In fact, the results which are seen after Bengal goes through polls under the President’s rule will best epitomize the will of the people, and who they want to be governed by.
During the BJP’s Nabanno Cholo protest march in Kolkata, the police took to using brute force against protestors who were determined nevertheless to carry on with their protest. Videos also erupted on social media showing police personnel and alleged TMC workers throwing crude bombs on BJP karyakartas from rooftops located along the route of the protest march. Union Home Minister Amit Shah also pointed out how almost every district in Bengal has come to be known for crude bomb production, to be used against political opponents of the TMC.
For the sake of democracy, the imposition of President’s rule seems to be imminent in the state of West Bengal. To avoid undue sympathy after the same shifting towards the TMC, it seems the Modi government will impose the same just prior to the election process kickstarting next year.