By Vijay Darda | 14-12-2020.
There is no place for violence in a democracy but the history of violence is being repeated in West Bengal.
The present state of politics in West Bengal is quite frightening. The language of ‘lathi and not democracy, is being spoken there. During the leftist’s era, street violence had become a norm but this time round, the society is in the grip of fierce communal polarisation. Bloody clashes are taking place between TMC and BJP workers.
The old saying that ‘who has the stick has the buffalo’ is very popular in the politics of West Bengal. It is unfortunate that political parties in the state are always translating this saying into reality. It is very difficult to say who is honest and who is dishonest. Everyone is pointing fingers at each other and it is the democracy that is at the receiving end. Political activists are dying. Emotions are so high that the whole of West Bengal seems to be splitting into two. Assembly elections in West Bengal are scheduled to be held in April-May next but the electoral activities have already gathered pace. The BJP is leaving no stone unturned to topple the Mamata Banerjee regime. Mamata Banerjee is also retaliating in her aggressive style, faced with the challenge to save her stronghold. She is a firebrand leader and defeating her is not going to be an easy task for the BJP.
She knows all the tricks of West Bengal politics. During the time of Siddhartha Shankar Ray, the leftists had uprooted the Congress through violence and the same leftists were overthrown by none other than Mamata. During her struggle, she suffered many attacks and even sustained ‘lathis’ but did not budge. The BJP is aware of Mamata’s grit. The BJP also shared power with Mamata at the Centre. She also knows that this is not the BJP of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani. It is the party of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.
In order to defeat Mamata, meetings of top BJP leaders are being planned and organised in West Bengal much ahead of the elections. Even the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has deployed its full force. The sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat has also visited West Bengal and held meetings. The BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya is camping there. The attack on the convoy of BJP president Jagat Prakash Nadda in the Diamond Harbour parliamentary constituency created a political storm across the country. Kailash Vijayvargiya was also hurt in this attack. Following this incident, the Union home ministry summoned West Bengal chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay and DGP Virendra but the chief secretary refused “to come to Delhi” saying he had an important meeting of officials to attend in Kolkata.
This is a message from Mamata Banerjee that she will not tolerate the interference of the Centre. Meanwhile, West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has sent a report to the Centre in this regard. Questions are also being raised about his attitude. Mamata Banerjee too did not respond after the Union home ministry sought a report on the incident. However, the Union home ministry has called back the three IPS officers who were responsible for the security of Nadda. Political experts are saying that the attitude of the Central government towards West Bengal after the attack on Nadda’s convoy is against the federal system of India. When a government is formed in a state after election, it should be allowed to work peacefully for five years. No hurdles should be created.
As far as the attack on Nadda is concerned, the BJP is saying that the attack was planned because the area in question is the parliamentary constituency of MP Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of Mamata Banerjee. After the attack, Kailash Vijayvargiya also said that Mamata’s nephew had tried to eliminate the BJP leaders with the help of criminals. But the Trinamool Congress retorted saying that the BJP itself carried out this attack! Mamata accused the BJP of indulging in such tactics and went on to say that many a time, such melodramas are orchestrated when the crowd does not turn up, to make headlines. However, this is not the first attack. When Mamata Banerjee had challenged the Left government, many attacks were carried out on her. Bombs were also lobbed at her car. During the Lok Sabha elections in May last year, the rally of the then BJP president Amit Shah was also attacked.
There was a fierce clash between the BJP and Trinamool Congress workers. About 100 people were arrested. But look at the misfortune that the statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was vandalised during the same clash. People hold in great esteem the eminent social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in West Bengal, so both the parties accused each other of vandalising the statue. I would like to mention here that the Naxalites were in a very strong position in West Bengal in the seventies and a large section was with them but during that time they blew up the statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar which drew widespread condemnation. Thereafter, Naxalism was isolated throughout West Bengal. People turned their back on the Naxalbari movement. This time, it is not yet clear who desecrated the statue.
However, the BJP is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the upcoming election is fought on religious grounds. It is said that the 50 to 60 lakh people who came from Bangladesh and settled in India have become the strength of Mamata Banerjee. Apart from Muslims, they included Bengali Hindu families too. It is becoming difficult for the BJP to turn these Bengali Hindus on its side because it has talked about implementing the CAA i.e. Citizenship Amendment Act.
Therefore, Hindus from Bangladesh have also started dithering. Resentment is growing and now the situation has become so explosive that violent clashes between TMC and BJP are becoming a norm everywhere. This situation is worrying. There should be no place for violence in a democracy. I cannot say who is wrong and who is right. But I must say that what is happening is not right. Violence does not see who is injured and when the nails of communalism grow, they scratch everyone.