CPM draws zero in municipal elections
TMS gets 8 out of 12 Municipalities
Asim Kumar Mitra
It is Trinamool Congress again on the winning spree. There was election in 12 municipalities of West Bengal and the polling was on September 21. TMC has swept the polls by capturing 8 municipalities. Left Front got only one and the Congress had to be satisfied with two only. In Alipurduar the decision on the making of Board is pending as no party has got clear majority—Left Front 8, Cong 6, and TMC 6. Last time (2008) there was 237 seats in these 12 municipalities, whereas this time the number was increased to 244. And there too TMC has been winner in 137 seats keeping all other parties far behind it. After the results were declared Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of the state, said that “they (opposition) all have received only 30 per cent of the total polled votes and TMC (Trinamool Congress) alone got 70 per cent of the polled votes”.
After the assembly election of 2011, TMC had swept the Panchayat election. There was allegation against them that the ruling party had taken resort to muscle power instead of fighting the election democratically. For this reason there were more than fifty persons killed during the election campaign. Opposition claimed that it was for this reason that the TMC could sweep the election. But what is their reaction about the election campaign of municipal polls? There was not a single poll-campaign-death. Of course, some injuries were there. But the opposition parties have chosen ‘violence by the ruling party’ as their main campaign strategy. Obviously it did not pay them. Another important point is to be noted that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee did not address a single election meeting of the TMC.
On the other hand CPM had tried to spread a wrong message to the voters saying ‘the violence by the ruling party was so strong that they were compelled to boycott the elections of Barddhaman and Chakdah. But after the result was declared it was found that in both the municipalities, Left Front was totally boycotted by the voters. They did not win a single seat there. Whereas in Barddhaman alone CPM got 30 seats. The reason was as explained by the political Pundits that “in CPM, there was no organisation as such. It was a façade made under coercion. Renowned Naxal leader Asim Chatterjee said, “This is high time that CPM has to democratise their party system and at the same time they have to realise that by showing the drawbacks of the ruling party and abusing them in filthy language would not bring them victory in elections”.
In 2008, the election of these 12 municipalities had given a different result. It was Left Front 5, Congress 3, Trinamool Congress 2, Milijuli 1, and Cong-TMC 1. In this connection let me quote few headlines given in Kolkata newspaper: “TMC 8, CPM 0.”
“Trinamool has snatched 4 civic bodies from Left Front. Party now upbeat over a mega show in the Lok Sabha polls”. —Hindustan Times. “TMC sweeps civic polls, CPM reduced to a duck. Cong Takes 2nd Spot, FB Sole Left Winner”. – Times of India. “ TRINAMOOL ROLLS ON, LEFT SINKS” — The Telegraph. Mamata Banerjee’s TMC swept the elections keeping intact its electoral momentum, escalating the Left’s crisis and countering suggestions that it has alienated non-rural voters.
Congress stood a distant second, winning two municipalities, while the Left Front managed to net one. Alipurduar municipality in Cooch Behar, which was with the Congress, gave a hung verdict. North Bengal, which has traditionally opposed the Trinamool, retained its character with the ruling party managing to win only one out of the five municipalities. Still State Congress leader has claimed: “We are down, but we are not our”.
The picture of BJP in this election is not at all bright as they could retain only three seats out of six seats they have won in 2008. This time they could retain 2 seats in Dubrajpur and 1 in Diamond harbour. They have lost 2 seats in Guskara and 1 in Alipurduar.
Common Civil Code is the only Solution
Kozhikode: Though the Indian Constitution envisages equality of laws without any discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, creed, gender etc, the Muslim orthodoxy is turning out to be a stumbling block in this objective. In this respect, the Western thinker, Benjamin Disraily’s description of the Muslim Society as “a turbulent minority and intolerant majority” turns out to be true, this time in Kerala.
Muslim organisations in Kerala are on a rampage against the child marriage Act, 2006 and the Kerala Registration of Marriages (Common) Rules 2008. The laws were enacted according to the directions of the Supreme Court. They are demanding exemption of the Muslim community from the purview of the laws, as for them Shariah is above the law of the land.
A co-ordination committee of various Muslim religious bodies in the State, with support of top Muslim League Leaders has decided to approach the Supreme Court seeking an exemption from marriage age restrictions for girls. A meeting to chalk out plans and programme in this regards was organised at Kozhikode on Saturday, 22 September. According to the newly constituted body- Muslim Personal Law Protection committee it would not be allowed to set marriage age for Muslim girls.
Though the IUML leadership has come up with a measured response to this demand, their leader and state secretary M.C. Myin Haji is a convener of the action committee. It is also interesting to note that the youth wing and the students’ wing are against this new move. Muslim students Federation (M S F) State chief T.P Ashrafali said that not even 10 percent of the Muslims women would support the demand. Social critic, writer and former University professor M N Karassery said that social welfare minister M K Muneer should be held responsible for setting the child marriage ‘demon’ free through the controversial circular issued by the local self-Government Department a few months ago. Since 1929, we have contained child marriages through various acts. In 2006, there was the formulation of child marriage Act. Hence, the present demand raised by the Muslim religious bodies is illegal, he said. He also added that even the Shariah Law clearly prohibits marriage without knowledge or consent of girls.
Taking strong exception to the demand, writer and critic Hameed Chennamangalloor stressed the need for demarcating religious laws and civil laws just as in the case of criminal law. There is no point in the case saying that fixing marriage age of girls is an encroachment of Muslim personal law as Muslim countries such as Egipt, Turky Morrocco, Iran and Pakstian have fixed marriage age for girls, he said.
Various socio-cultural organisations and political parties ridiculed the move by Muslim outfit. V Muraleedharan, state chief of BJP, condemned the demand stating that it is a challenge to the Indian constitution. It is a dangerous attempt to enforce ”Talibanism in Kerala” and it has to be opposed with all our might, he said.
The new demand from the orthodox sections of the Muslims community is a calculated move to attract maximum support for the IUML which intends to snatch one more Lok Sabha in the 2014 elections. Various sects of Muslims clergy are trying to create communal division by depicting Narendra Modi as a demon. With this view, IUML, also a partner in the UDF Government has already begun their election propaganda in full flow to alert and consolidate the Muslim votes.
There is another hidden agenda in this united venture of Muslim organisation and that is reengaging in Arabic wedding. Four months back, a UAE citizen married a 14 year old Muslim girl without her consent, violating the existing marriage rules from an orphanage. Cases have been registered against the UAE man; the permission of the orphanage is also cancelled.
In short, while the nations are marching on a progressive path, applying Common Civil Code for each and every individual is the only option. That will be with the true spirit of the Indian Constitution.
IM jehadi Afzal Usmani escapes
In a major security lapse that could have major repercussions, an Indian Mujahideen (IM) jehadi, Afzal Usmani, escaped from Mumbai Sessions Court before being presented before the court. He was a prized catch for the police as he was not only responsible for the Ahmedabad, Surat and Mumbai blasts but also was a key foot soldier setting up systems and people for IM in Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Usmani’s arrest in 2008 led investigators to the Mumbai module of the Indian Mujahideen and its role in terror cases. Police say Usmani was a car thief who provided vehicles and bombs for the 2008 Ahmedabad and Surat blasts. This setback comes after the arrest of Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal three weeks ago, which was considered a spectacular success for Indian security agencies. Afzal’s first tryst with crime was in 1996, when he and SIMI member Abdul Hamid were booked for an attempt to murder a man named Pandey, who wanted to open a video parlour next to a mosque. A black Maruti Zen, used by car thief Afzal Usmani, one of the terror suspects currently in police custody, proved to be his undoing. Usmani’s arrest led the crime branch to other members of the terror module and helped them tie up the loose ends in the recent blasts across the country.