The Trinamool Congress stronghold of Cooch Behar recently witnessed unprecedented violence after a mob of 150 allegedly attacked CISF personnel which subsequently led to the death of four people. Taking cognisance of the violence, the Election Commission of India wasted no time in banning the entry of political leaders from the region for 72 hours. If the unprecedented violence continues unabated, we may well have a situation where political leaders are altogether banned from campaigning which delivers a fatal blow to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and her party TMC.
After unprecedented violence broke out during the fourth phase of Assembly elections in West Bengal, the ECI not only ordered re-polling at one polling station in Cooch Behar but also banned politicians from visiting the district for 72 hours.
The body in its order stated, “Whereas, it has been brought to the notice of the Commission that the last rites of the four deceased persons had still not been completed and that some political leaders may visit this area with the ostensible purpose of condoling with the families of bereaved which however, has the portent to cause a law and order problem of major proportions in this place as well as the adjoining places….”
However, when Mamata Banerjee perhaps in a bid to defy the ECI’s orders tried to land her chopper in Jalpaiguri – a region close to the district of Cooch Behar and where she was supposed to conduct two rallies, the administration refused to allow her to land her chopper.
Reportedly, Mamata’s rallies now stand cancelled. It is also being reported that Mamata earlier planned to travel to Cooch Behar from Jalpaiguri to meet the family of the deceased which would have been a violation of the ECI’s orders.
However, the fact that the administration refused permission to allow Mamata to land her chopper indicates that the ECI has taken the violence in Cooch Behar very seriously and if such an incident is repeated, political leaders like Mamata Banerjee will not be allowed to conduct rallies in West Bengal altogether.
If such an eventuality were to take place, it will deliver a body blow to Mamata Banerjee’s campaign especially given BJP’s rapidly rising popularity in West Bengal as it would become seemingly impossible for her to stop the BJP wave in the state without holding rallies and roadshows.