With a long history of bloodshed, Bengal continues to make a mockery of democracy
On the face of it, the State-sponsored election machinery of the ruling Trinamool Congress kind is hardly expected to deliver any psephological insight except the landslide endorsement of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Yes she has convincingly brutalised her opponents, the Congress and the Left grovelling among the crumbs. So the BJP’s securing 20 per cent of the vote is no small takeaway in a state that is immune to its pan-India blending and where the personality cult of Didi has not been dented at all, crafted as it is not on her performance so much but on the fear of hitback if the electorate doesn’t swing to her shakti. Imagine the odds the BJP was up against. Joining the Opposition chorus that the BJP’s recent electoral successes were largely the result of doctored EVMs, the state went for the traditional ballot paper. And as images swirled of torn ballot papers, booth capturing and overturned trucks, it is a revelation that the BJP could garner the vote pie it did amid all the organised rigging. Little wonder then that the Trinamool was antsy about the panchayat elections although it pocketed 34 per cent seats in its kitty unopposed.
It is shameful that Bengal continues to make a mockery of the democratic process election after election and is fast earning the moniker of becoming the wild badlands of India, a prefix which was one time used to define the heartland. Bengal has proved that regimes may come and go but the culture of intimidation and violence now has a systemic hold and validity that no ideology seems immune to. So if “scientific rigging” was copyrighted by the Left, it is now being continued by the Trinamool, which can be called neo-Left, given its retentive hold verdict after verdict. If the Trinamool is not comfortable despite the State Election Commission and the law and order machinery under its heel, it means the party is pressing upon the earth all too hard and maybe in danger of losing grasp on its roots. Its performance is not up for free and frank assessment in a tightly wound autocratic system that doesn’t allow room for dissent, criticism or a scope for improvement. Bengal’s growth figures are hardly anything to write home about. The BJP has double trouble in Bengal. Although it has imported Trinamool’s Mukul Roy to its ranks, it is yet to evolve a cohesive organisational structure that can mount a semblance of a single-pronged attack. Also it must buck the trend of counter-coercion rather than risk falling victim to the existing political script. It may take a long time coming but as it emerges as the second party of consequence, its narrative better be different.
Courtesy: Daily Pioneer