Dr. Anirban Ganguly
Elections are the life-blood of democracy and free and fair elections are imperative to bring the voice of the people into effect. In West Bengal, Panchayat Elections had been notified to be held on 01st, 03rd and 05th May of 2018 where the last date of nominations is 09th of April 2018.
Mamata Banerjee led TMC unleashed a cycle of violence against the BJP candidates as well as their family members. In a typically fascist manner, following the methods once used by the left front cadres to threaten and subdue opposition candidates, the TMC lumpens too began threatening dissuading opposition candidates from filing their nominations. The main target of their attacks and intimidation have been BJP workers whom they tried to forcefully prevent from contesting the Panchayat elections.
So gruesome has been the TMC violence, that it has seen workers being killed, women being molested and manhandled – in fact, TMC goons have gone around villages threatening BJP workers, that if they dare contest, they should first buy for their women the white cloth used to cover cadavers and then proceed for filing their nominations. This was the exact modus operandi adopted by the communist harmads who would, at gun point, threaten opposition workers and make a mockery of democracy. The TMC cadres and lumpens, with express support of the TMC supremo have unleashed exactly such a cycle of violence.
So successful has been TMC in terrorising democracy and eventually murdering it that in Mamata’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee’s Lok Sabha constituency, Diamond Harbour, that the opposition was unable to file nominations in over 93% of the seats, while in Birbhum, overseen by Mamata’s favourite henchmen, the district president Anubrata Mondol, the picture is similar. In fact, Anubrata has also coerced and threatened candidates from withdrawing their nominations or having filed them, to switch over to the TMC. Both Abhishek and Anubrata – Mamata’s favourites in her control for Bengal – have actually lived up to her hope of controlling Bengal through terrorising the people and by ensuring that the democratic space in the state keeps shrinking. In this she has surpassed the communists, who adhered to the philosophy of limited terror and limited violence in order to keep the proletariat in line and disciplined.
By resorting to violence with the help of anti-social elements the TMC has distorted the level playing field and has defiled the sanctity and purity of the election process. TMC goons and lumpens with country made arms, batons, iron rods have been knifing, bombing BJP workers, vandalising shops, manhandling women workers and terrorising localities. BJP offices across the state, especially in rural areas are being vandalised and torched. The case of Raiganj was for all to see, where TMC harmad groups went on a rampage, breaking shops, openly wielding arms, hurling bombs and expletives in equal measure.
In addition the BDOs who have been appointed as the Assistant Panchayat Electoral Registration Officer by the West Bengal State Election Commission, have refused to give the nomination forms to the candidates of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Thus, the entire election process is being reduced to a farce.
BJP workers were beaten up inside the SDO offices while going to file their nominations or are being prevented from entering the SDO offices for filing their nomination. A case in point, is that of Bilash Lakshman,BJP leader from Khanakul’s Gobindapur in Hooghly. Lakshman had come to collect his nomination paper for the No.49 Zilla Parishad seat of Khanakul. He was accompanied by BJP Kisan Morcha leader of Khanakul Tapan Mondal. They were physically lifted in front of the Deputy Magistrate, taken out of the office and badly beaten up and manhandled by TMC goons. Keshab Koyal of Sandeshkhali-1, of Basirhat Subdivision, in N.24 Parganas, faced a similar situation when armed TMC goons picked him up from the BDO’s office.
BJP workers who were filing the nomination form sitting in the BJP office at Minakhan, Basirhat Subdivision, N.24 Parganas were attacked, and their forms torn, the party office vandalised and workers badly beaten up. The Minakhan BJP office is next to the police station. BJP worker in Purulia, Bhim Sen Nandi had to be hospitalised after being severely beaten by TMC goons.
Such incidents have occurred and are occurring in large numbers across the state. Incidents of knifing and bombing has become rampant, the police forces are unable to or are unwilling to bring the situation in control. The High Court stepped in and in an indication of the deterioration has ordered that nominations can be e-filed.
With the rise in nominations on BJP symbol, the TMC got rattled and resorted to unleashing violence against BJP workers and their families. But BJP workers have also been resisting TMC lumpenism and have, in areas, recovered inch by inch lost ground, it is this that makes the TMC and its leaders nervous, they wish to control Bengal unchallenged but lack the capacity to do it in a democratic manner and are hence resorting to terrorist methods. TMC is a party which has failed the Indian constitution and the struggle against it must be further strengthened for democracy in Bengal to survive.
But the most deafening silence on this is from those who have consistently spread false and malicious propaganda against Prime Minister Modi and the BJP, those placard carrying professional protestors and marchers, those five star activists, who have always created false narratives, have been conspicuously silent, they do not have the gumption to challenge Mamata, they are comfortable with attacking Modi and will be well taken care off if they continue with their tirade against him, and therefore when democracy is being throttled in West Bengal, when women political workers are being molested, when political workers are being killed, they look the other way such is their duplicitous spirit.
(The writer is Director of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation)