THE whole of West Bengal is busy with election propaganda for the forthcoming elections of 81 municipalities. In the mean time one major development has taken place. The poll alliance of INC and TMC has been broken. As usual, stories of blame game have flooded in the pages of newspapers and media coverage. When people are busy watching these stories on electronic media and reading them in newspapers, surreptitious move is going on under the cover of such propaganda. Political observers say that this ‘surreptitious move’ initiated by the Muslims is very significant for one major reason and that is, through the unusual blowing up of ‘blame game stories’ in media they were successful in diverting the attention of public mind from a very crucial issue to minor issues. It is a fact that Muslims have deserted both the INC and the CPM (and for that matter all front partners) even after getting so many favours from both the parties. Apparently Muslims are banking upon TMC to fulfill their demand.
The Left Front government has already fulfilled so many demands of Muslims. They formed a Minority Development Board especially meant for Muslims through which different types of help is doled out. Apart from giving financial help, the LF government has established an Islamic University for them. Its name is ‘Alia University’. Islamic religious education is a compulsory subject here. When the Alia University Bill was passed in the State Assembly, it was found that names of the posts were given in Arabian language, such as, Chancellor is called Aamir-e-Jamia, Vice-chancellor—Shek-e-Jamia, Registrar—Musajjil, Finance Committee—Majlis-e-Maliyat, etc. The logo of the Alia University is the replica of Aligarh Muslim University’s logo.
The budget of the Minority Development Board was Rs 4 crore in 1995-06. It was increased to Rs 524,11 crore in 2009-10. The budget for madrasa education was also increased disproportionately. It was only Rs. 5,60 lakh in 1977 and now it has gone up to 324,05 crore. With the official sponsorship and patronage the number of madrasas in the State is increasing in geometrical progression. When the CPM-led Left Front came into power there were only 238 recognised madrasas in the State. LF government had added another 269 madrasas in the State. The total number of recognised madrasas, at this moment, is 507. The government has already declared that they were going to recognise another 500 within a very short period. But the fact remains that there are more than 5,000 unrecognised madrasas situated near Bangladesh border. Few years back, Shri Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had said that those madrasas were ‘brooding centres of terrorists’. In no time Buddhadeb had received a strong rebuff from his party bosses and as an obedient disciple he had immediately withdrawn his comment. For all practical purposes, these madrasas are considered as masjids
In the field of education, this government has informed through a circular to all schools, colleges and universities that 10 per cent reservation for Muslim students should be kept and if required number of Muslim students does not take admission, the reserved seats have to be kept vacant. In the field of employment, same thing has happened. If appointments are given on the basis of qualification and competence, then no one would complain against them. But things are going on other way round. When Siddhartha Shankar Ray was chief minister of West Bengal (1972-1977) he ordered that there should be one Muslim in each and every Police station of the State on the level of Sub-Inspector. CPM-led LF government has not only pursued that policy but they made recruitment policy so lenient that ‘Tom, Dick & Harry’ of Muslim community got appointment in the Police force. Hence it is noticed that in almost all Police stations of West Bengal, on an average, four to five Muslims are there. As a citizen of India, Muslims can rightly enjoy this kind of job. But the situation is growing in such a manner that people are smelling a rat in it. Some of them have made an extreme comment by saying “there must be a design behind it”. The right thinking people belonging to all communities should ponder over the matter.
The Sachar Commission Report and Justice Ranganath Misra Commission Report, both appease the Muslims and one should not forget that both commissions were instituted by the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre. Still Muslims are not satisfied with them.
After the breaking of INC-TMC alliance, the election has become a multi-cornered fight. Major parties taking part in this fight are CPM-led Left Front, TMC, INC, BJP, SUC, and a galore of independent candidates. Surprisingly enough, ‘minority votes’ are playing a compelling role at the back of the minds of all political parties. Hence the words ‘national’, ‘nationalist’, ‘nationalism’ ‘national interest’, etc. are not figuring in their propaganda material.
It is really a complex situation. When the question is to choose between bad and worse, one can well imagine that the situation is pretty bad. Because in absence of ‘good’ nothing ‘better’ can take place. Forthcoming Municipal elections in West Bengal are fraught with these kinds of unsavoury questions which people here think are very crucial. The reason being all political parties are busy in chalking out methods of appeasing minority community especially Muslim community of the society. In this process, Muslims have come all out to take advantage of the situation. On the one hand, eight India-Bangladesh bordering districts of the State are flooded with Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrators and they are successful in getting ration cards and even Indian voter ID cards with the active help of almost all constituents of Left Front (the ruling conglomerate of the State) on the other hand, these infiltrators are all out to include their names in the next census report (2011) for which enumeration work has already been started. If no check is put on the face of it, they are simply going to outnumber the original inhabitants of the State and those days are not far-off when these people (Muslims) will become democratically elected rulers of the whole country.
Hence, it has become a common scenario of almost all election meetings organised by different political parties in rural Bengal that on the stages, on an average, half a dozen Muslim speakers are invariably there. In TMC (Trinamool Congress) election meetings organised in rural areas, a Muslim will preside over the meeting and minimum two to three Muslim speakers will be there. Under these circumstances the silent mass of this country is really annoyed. Unfortunately, major newspapers and influential electronic media are not highlighting this serious problem. This is a matter of grave concern.