(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Millions of Indians today would term West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is arrogant. Or why she wouldn’t pick up the phone calls from Prime Minister Narendra Modi or returns call to state governor Keshari Nath Tripathi when crisis is as grave as Cyclone Fani or the state is sitting on a time-bomb on doctors’ agitation?
Tens and thousands of us would also call “Didi” a fascist. Or why she would jump out of her caravan and confront people who are merely chanting “Jai Shri Ram”, a matter of greeting among India’s masses? Or why she would tell the agitating doctors to return to work within four hours or face the consequences?
Lakhs of Indians won’t deny either that she is communal in her approach, favouring Muslims and running down Hindus. Or why she would change “ramdhenu” with “rangdhenu” in textbooks? Pass the stricture that idol immersion in Durga Puja must be postponed on Muharram day?
An overwhelming numbers of us would also term Mamata Banerjee as an autocrat. Or why she would deny prominent opposition leaders, from Amit Shah to Yogi Adityanath, from landing on her turf for election rallies? Tear up the posters of BJP’s rallies? Pull up custom officials who have the temerity to stop her relatives at the airport?
A still bigger number of us would’ve no doubt that the only news emerging from West Bengal for so many days is violence. Mamata Banerjee and her TMC must take the blame for violent politics. So rampant is the politics of blood that 34% of seats in Panchayat elections go uncontested. Or the lynchings which takes place regularly on Bengal’s streets.
None of us would also deny that Mamata Banerjee is undemocractic and unconstitutional. People (Priyanka Sharma) are jailed for posting memes on whatsapp; professors (Rakesh Sinha) is booked for inciting violence when all he has done is to visit a temple with his mother.
Millions would nod in affirmative that Mamata Banerjee resembles a dictator in Bengal. The bureaucracy is under her thumbs; police is an extension for her coercive politics and is shielded from investigations by Central agencies. She even resists interventions of Supreme Court.
Millions would’ve also heard about the ongoing Saradha, Narada and Rose Valley scams and the charges that Mamata Banerjee is corrupt. The corruption charges have engulfed her TMC party.
All too often we hear that terror network and jihadi forces are rampant in West Bengal. That terror-network Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen has taken roots in the state. The news that radicalization has taken place in madarsas in districts such as Bardhaman. That the dreaded Islamic State (IS) has named a new “emir” in West Bengal. How would Mamata Banerjee deny the allegation that she is a “secessionist” and one of India’s “tukde-tukde”gang?
Now please put all these adjectives together: arrogant, fascist, communal, autocrat, violent, undemocratic, unconstitutional, dictator, corrupt etc together. Name one person who has been called all this by India’s ecosystem in the last five years: Yes, you are right—Narendra Modi. And I challenge you to show one instance in our mainstream English media—Lutyens Media—who has ever accused Mamata Banerjee of such traits.
What is an ecosystem? Ecosystem isn’t the government in power. Ecoystem is a network of politicians, media, academicians, lawyers, bureaucrats, institutional heads, cultural czars etc who work in unison to push a particular agenda.
So think about the politicians (such as Rahul Gandhi, Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati etc), journalists (Shekhar Gupta, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose, Barkha Dutt etc), laywers (Prashant Bhushan etc), academicians (Prof. Ram Chandra Guha, Faizan Mustafa, Rajmohan Gandhi etc) institutional heads (former Election Commissioners, Police Commissioners, Ex Chief Justices of India who occupy the edit pages), cultural czars (Javed Akhtar, Kamal Haasan etc) etc. Look at their twitter timelines to show me if they’ve ever accused Mamata Banerjee of being communal, autocrat, corrupt or instigating lynchings etc. How is that when rest of India has almost a similar opinion on Mamata Banerjee, these biggies who occupy our ears, eyes and minds have a completely different opinion?
It is easy for India’s ecosystem to do whataboutery. So when violence happens in Bengal, it’s both TMC and BJP who are guilty. If provocation happens, both TMC and BJP are at fault. If communal issues are flaring up, both TMC and BJP must take the blame.
But now the eco-system is in a bind. The doctors’ agitation can’t be blamed on BJP. It’s people who are rising up against Mamata Banerjee’s TMC in the state of Bengal. You can resort to propaganda against RSS and BJP, weave themes on lynchings and communalism but how do you face up to the wrath of millions. It’s the people of India who stood up to the ecosystem and showed it the mirror in the 2019 General Polls. It’s the people who are again exposing this network in rapidly deteriorating West Bengal.
As they say, you can fool some of the people all the time. But you can’t fool all the people all the time.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Trinamool Congress (TMC) is facing a meltdown in West Bengal. The cookie of Mamata Banerjee is crumbling. MLAs and Councillors have begun to jump the sinking ship. Kailash Vijayvarghiya, the state BJP chief, says this is just the first bunch—six more lots would follow in phases. Is BJP making a big mistake here?
Trinamool Congress prospered on desertions from CPI(M). It helped TMC end the rule of Left Front which had lasted for 34 years, beginning 1977. She promised the oppressed majority of Bengal “free air of democracy” and “growth” as the undercurrent of hostility against Left’s violent and anti-growth philosophy was palpable.
Those were the times when CPI (M) and its’ “terror regime” was omnipresent. Big Brother always watched. They decided on who you marry, how a family dispute should be settled, what you wear and what you read. The bureaucracy and the police didn’t move till local bosses asked them to. Something had to give way: It did in 2011.
Mamata Banerjee rode on people’s anger. Singur and Nandigram were the flashpoints. Masses were behind Mamata. Bengal soon had a new political icon. As Left began to decompose, desertions began en masse. TMC benefitted.
Now history is repeating itself. TMC is disintegrating. Men and women of TMC now, Left of past, are again jumping the ship. This unscrupulous lot would hurt BJP in more ways than one. Let me explain.
Let’s look at this present decade of Mamata Banerjee and her TMC. If anything, they are a far worse version of Left. The cadre of CPI(M) was at least disciplined. The factions were always papered over. But TMC is made of rival, deeply antagonistic factions. Different leaders within the ranks jostle for power over masses who suffer without mercy.
There is no point hedging the facts. For long TMC is accused of running “extortion rackets.” Leave aside realty sector, even an individual can’t spruce up his home without “cuts” to local goons. Even a cobbler had to rustle up in order to squat on the street. Chit-fund scams. Wealth of Abhishek Banerjee (nephew of Mamata Banerjee and apparently her successor). Terror. All have begun to have a cascading effect.
The state has watched how opposition couldn’t even file their papers in panchayat elections. Dozens of seats went uncontested to TMC. Police and bureaucracy is a mere extension to Mamata’s Raj. The appeasement of Muslims is brazen (Remember, how Mamata changed “ramdhenu” to “rongdhenu” in school textbooks?). Locally, Hindus feel suppressed to Muslim. There have been instances of stone-pelting on Ram Navami celebrations. Kaliachak riots. Muslim mob set upon police in Malda. Monthly stipends to imams/maulanas is state’s policy. Etc.
Thus it would be unwise for BJP to go for a poisoned chalice. Mamata Banerjee would go on her own. She is on her knees. Gone is the bravado. (Isn’t she coming to the Capital on Thursday for Narendra Modi’s oath ceremony? Isn’t she the same Mamata who didn’t pick up his phone in Fani cyclone distress? The same Mamata who called him “Expiry Date PM?” Who wanted him to be thrown out?)
Filth is never healthy. TMC turncoats are spoilt on naked use of power and violence. If they had looked for TMC, and not for self, the party wouldn’t have come to this sorry pass. These same men would wield the same obnoxious hold over local masses. They won’t appear reformed—Then-TMC-Now-BJP—to a common man. Rather, their very presence would evoke a sense of suppression. They would hurt the party discipline which is the essence of BJP.
BJP has so far been patient in dismantling Mamata Banerjee. They need more of such a dose. A rush for the trophy now would hurt them in not-too-distant a future. Mamata is collapsing on her own heap. You don’t need a storm when a rustle of air is enough.
(P.S: Meanwhile, has anyone heard from Derek O’ Brien? Is he still with Mamata Banerjee? He hasn’t tweeted since results came on May 23. I hope he is not in the next few lots. A motormouth, like Navjot Singh Sidhu and Randeep Soorjewala, his very presence would evoke revulsion amongst BJP-backers. )