Mamata and her majboori
By taking a U-turn on Presidential poll Mamata stoops to conquer
Asim Kumar Mitra
The Trinamool Congress supremo and Chief Minister of West Bengal Ms. Mamata Banerjee had taken complete U-turn on question of supporting the presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee. Increasingly isolated at the Centre and desperate for a financial bailout package, Mamata Banerjee declared on July 17, 2012 late in the afternoon that the Trinamool Congress would not destabilise the UPA government and would support Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential race. On July 16, 2012 night both Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi telephoned her. They assured all help to the state government. There was talk of a financial package coming.
Apart from this two significant developments took place which really forced the TMC Supremo rethink about her stand on supporting the UPA presidential candidate. One, if TMC voted for Sangma, who was with NDA would send a wrong signal to state’s Muslims. Two, there was a real fear that many TMC lawmakers would break ranks and vote for Pranab Mukherjee.
Increasingly marginalised in New Delhi, a pressing need for funds for a bankrupt state exchequer and urgent need to thwart the Left’s growing influence compelled Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee to swallow the bitter pill with “a heavy heart”. Mamata said: “I have taken this decision not under the pressure came from some one, I took this decision under the compulsion of coalition politics.” At the same time she did not forget to remind the central leadership that you might maintain cordial relationship with the CPM and the state Congress, but her fight against would continue. She had already jeopardised the ill-motive of CPM to become friendlier with the central leaders of the Congress who were sitting at the helm of affairs to cut into size the political advantages of the TMC in the state of West Bengal.
The Congress in West Bengal has started thinking that it was for them that the TMC could become victorious in 2009 assembly election and oust the 34-year old CPI(M) led Left Front government from the seat of power. They have not taken a decision to break the INC-TMC alliance as yet, but there have been a concerted effort to denigrate, defame and debase the Mamata administration in the eyes of the public. On 16th July, 2012, state Congress had organised an open rally against the present government of which they are still an ally. The discord between the allies was highlighted since Mamata Banerjee refused to accept Pranab Mukherjee as the presidential candidate and announced her own candidate, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Repeated requests for moratorium waiver by the central government have fallen on deaf ears so far. Although WBPCC president Pradip Bhattacharya has emphatically said that Pranab Mukherjee would win the presidential election hands down but Mamata Banerjee, if does not come forward to support him she would commit an historical blunder as people of Bengal would not pardon her.
Adhir Chowdhury, another congress leader and M.P. from Murshidabad, all the more vocal against Trinamool Congress was in favour of severing relationship with TMC immediately. Assuming a split with the Trinamool Congress is inevitable, the Congress leadership in West Bengal would not leave any room for CPI(M) to form the opposition in the state, according to party leaders. So they have taken up belligerent attitude against the state government to give an impression to the people that they would not tolerate any wrong doings of the government. Adhir Chowdhury was more blunt when he said, “Our alliance with TMC is bound to end and we can’t leave the opposition space for the CPM”.
Political observers, of course, have other viewpoint in this regard. They have termed the belligerent attitude of Congress as a calculated move to master support of the people for the Panchayat election to be held early next year. So long both TMC and the Congress were claiming that it was one individual party’s strength of which the other party of the alliance was taking advantage. TMC leaders were of the firm opinion that there was no Congress throughout the state and it was for TMC that Congress has won few seats in the assembly. To counter this argument, the Congress has started saying that TMC was in alliance with NDA and during that period their performance in the election was dismal. Hence the next Panchayat election would be very crucial for both the parties as both the parties have decided to fight the Panchayat election separately.
Adhir thought that wooing the Muslim sentiment would be the easiest way to win over the Panchayat election. For that purpose in mind he had alleged that it was Chief Minister Mamata who had ordered to stop the building work of the campus of Aligarh Muslim University in Murshidabad. He further alleged that when central government had already allocated a sum of Rupees 1300 crores to build Aligarh Muslim University campus at Ahiran in Murshidabad and 288 acres of fallow land near Farakka Barrage had been handed over for the said project, Rs. 50 crores was released to meet immediate expenditure, not only that, when Pranab Mukherjee, the then Finance Minister, had laid the foundation stone of the university in the presence of former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee how come the implementation of this project was stopped. Under the leadership of Adhir Chowdhury, Congress workers had submitted a memorandum to the district magistrate expressing their unhappiness over the situation. The DM on his part explained that it was the desire of the CMO (Chief Minister’s Office) that until the last family living in certain portion of the said land was adequately rehabilitated no work should take place. So ‘playing to the gallery’ tactics of Adhir Chowdhury might not pay him a good dividend in this case. Nevertheless the situation had become very complicated.
As a third party CPM had been enjoying the situation as they had been expecting to regain their lost ground in the rural areas. Apart from Congress, the CPM had been, it was alleged, in close touch with the State BJP and they have been instigating, if not provoking, BJP to go all out against the TMC. Till now CPM could not gain anything through this policy.
Communists had tarnished the cultural image of West Bengal
Asim Kumar Mitra
There was a time when West Bengal was considered as the hub of cultural activities and mindset of the people here were used to be highly culturally oriented. May be for that reason Kolkata was considered as the ‘cultural capital’ of India. I still remember one lecture of the then RSS Sarsanghachalak MS Golwalkar ‘Guruji’ where he emotionally mentioned that in Bengal you will find that ‘mother concept’ was prevailing in every aspect of life. Even they used to call ‘Bahu’ as ‘Bahu-ma’ or ‘Bouma’, ‘Kaki’ as ‘Kakima’. ‘Mami’ as ‘Mamima’ etc. It simply implied that reverence and respect for womenfolk in this part of the country was supreme. The teaching of Shastras that “Matrivat Pardaareshu” was followed by the people here was so sincere that crime against women was negligible.
Alas, those days are gone. It is a shame on the part of West Bengal that the latest report of National Crime Record Bureau, it has been mentioned that the state has surpassed all other states in inflicting crime against womenfolk. It has mentioned that West Bengal alone had recorded for 12.7 per cent crime against women which was largest. With 10 per cent rape cases took place in the state, West Bengal stood first.
In this regard the National Crime Record Bureau has highlighted two most significant points. One, in West Bengal, crime against women has started increasing in number was since 2006. Two, punishment awarded to the criminals in this respect was not even fully implemented. It was astonishing that the government was reluctant to take strong action against the criminals. In this regard also West Bengal stood at the top of the list.
One should not forget that those were the years when the government was run by the Left Front led by CPI(M). It was under their sponsorship that the degeneration cultural standard had started taking place. Rape cases, abduction of women, domestic violence predominantly against women were all on the increasing spree. The administration under Left Front government was protecting those goons whose allegiance towards Left Front was unquestionable. Above all, whenever such incidents of rape, molestation and the like were taken place, invariably one or the other Left Front minister would come forward and would give a statement saying ‘it was a conspiracy against the Left Front government’. Under such circumstances even the rapists were getting shelter under Left Front ministers. Not only have that number of ministers, on record, given protection to criminals, they have questioned the chastity of victim girls emboldened by such ignominious comment about the victim girls, the rapists and criminals became more ruthless and undaunted. This is the reason why police and administration have started soft pedaling against those criminals. Consequently, cases like Park Street Rape Case-criminals were moving at large and no justice was delivered to the victims. In this way the CPI (M)-led Left Front government had reduced West Bengal into an ‘incriminated state’.
In the field of education, West Bengal had already lost their pre-eminent position in India long back. Under the Left Front rule the state was systematically taken to a degenerated and debased position. Beating up of Principals and other teachers by the students have become a regular feature. Even the college and school staffs had earned a dubious distinction of heckling lady principals, professors and other teachers. Especially when you notice the poor plight of women in West Bengal, you will be surprised to know that even the State Women Commission has time and again mentioned that ‘as the women of this state are more educated and politically conscious, they used to lodge more and more number of complaints, people tend to think that West Bengal has gone down to lowest ebb of cultural standards’.
The present government of the state under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee has inherited this legacy. She assumed power with a promise to ‘change’ the state of affairs. But with the help of whom? CPI(M) had planted their men in the administration and they are majority in number. Every now and then sabotage is being taken place against the present government. Hence, the removal of the black spot mentioned above has become more difficult.