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The ugly politics of West Bengal
The political fight between the TMC and the BJP is becoming uglier day by day. The present postcard war is the most recent example. I don't know which postcards they are using but it's a fact that ordinary postcards are highly subsidized and meant for the use by poor people. If those postcards are used for politics then it's really a disservice.

One can understand that 'history is repeating in West Bengal'. The way TMC captured Left's forts post the 2009 general election, BJP is imitating the same. Thus, violent confrontations are very common which have even led to political killings. For any democracy such political fight is indecent. In this context I would like to give out a few words of caution to both the TMC and the BJP.

Mamata Banerjee of the TMC: She must realize that there are some issue over which the West Bengal public is dissenting against her. The policy of terrorizing by the TMC cadres, syndicates' intervention in everyone's livelihood and pure violence are not acceptable to the common people. Thus, she needs to re-access the situation and try to reach to the people. There's nothing wrong in reaching out to people and asking them what's really wrong with her and her party. If required she should change the functioning of her government as well as her party cadres. This is a democratic country. The attitude of 'my way or the highway' isn't acceptable. The people are not ready to be dictated what to do, what not to do, whom to vote for or whom not to, etc.

There is violence. The state police shouldn't be selective. People are being killed. The action should be taken without discrimination else people will lose the trust on Mamata. No doubt Mamata is the tallest leader for all Bengalis but that doesn't mean that the people can tolerate every misdeed and autocratic behaviour for eternity.

Mamata needs to realize that she too is a Chief Minister under oath, thus she needs to perform the duties of a Chief Minister as per the constitutional mandate. You can't just get down of your vehicle and challenge the crowd standing by the roadside for any slogan. You also can't say who is an outsider or a local. West Bengal is an integral part of India and people from rest of the country has Constitutional right to live in West Bengal. You can't isolate them in the name of Bengali identity.

Similarly, after election is over, you can't challenge or insult central ministries including Prime Minister. The protocol is very clear and Mamata has to follow those in letter and spirit. She needs to control her temper and maintain her cool. A bad-tempered political leader is never acceptable to any public.

It's good that Mamata is asking help from Prashant Kishore. I am sure Prashant Kishore would have advised her to be calm, mature and controlled in her public display. If she keeps on behaving the way she is behaving for last some months, I don't think she will survive politically.

BJP Leadership in Bengal: Undoubtedly there are many reasons why the people have started distancing themselves from Mamata Banerjee and her party. But the BJP need to prove a credible alternative. If the BJP too follows the same violent game as TMC plays now, I don't think people will trust the BJP. You just can't accommodate the same goons who were torturing people during their tenure in TMC. The people want a change in the entire environment rather than changing the boss of all the hooligans. If the BJP thinks that the way TMC captured Left's fort, they will capture TMC's fort, I am afraid that the people are not going to trust the BJP.

If the TMC is following violent methods, the BJP needs to respond in a decent and non-violent way. It can't just follow tit-for-tat. Let me give a simple example. In all the six phases of voting during the general election 2019, the BJP was at par with the TMC in wining seats. But in the seventh phase the BJP drew a blank. Why? The simple reason was the vandalism during Amit Shah's road show where Ishwar Chandra Vidya Sagar's statue was desecrated.  I don't say that the BJP did it, but the fact remains that the people of Bengal held BJP guilty for the vandalism. As a result the people rejected the BJP in the seventh phase of voting. This should be a warning signal for the BJP leadership that people of Bengal although angry with Mamata Banerjee, but in no case will allow any party to hurt their sentiments. The people of Bengal are a bit emotional; thus, the BJP needs to do healthy politics that has no place of any indecency, vulgarity, violence etc. If it is able to follow that then it can win the hearts of Bengalis else people of Bengal will prefer for status quo in the absence of a credible alternative with a credible narrative.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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