Mamata Banerjee continues to hold sway over West Bengal with Trinamool Congress decimating the Opposition but the question is how much difference it would make for West Bengal in terms of governance and Bengal development
Some old timers in Kolkata’s famous ‘addas’ generally discuss how Jyoti Basu should be credited for immense political success of Mamata Banerjee.
Are you all getting it wrong? No, I have not lost it.
But fact of the matter is people of “Sonar Bangla’ have decided to choose Mamata Didi as their Chief Minister for next five years – at least. In between, there will be certain clamour for her bigger role in 2019 because a section of Mamata loyalists had tried that game miserably in 2014 also. The vacant chairs at Delhi’s Ram Lila ground and the rally boycotted by Anna Hazare had left another story.
Nevertheless, amid the big hype about Didi’s success in 2016 Assembly polls – that she has got “people’s mandate” once again – one is actually outfoxed on the very issue how much difference it would make for the State in terms of improvement in government and short run and the long run benefits of the people.
“After all – every five years Jyoti Basu also managed such immense mandate – and he got it for three decades! He ensured decimation of Congress but in all that Basu had created a vacuum for creation of a leader called Mamata Banerjee,” went a blog trending for a while.
The basic understanding in socio-political circle in West Bengal is that there is a pattern of “Jyoti Basuism” in Mamata Banerjee’s success too. It is successful in booth management and “azadi (freedom)” to cadres. The result is obvious.
It is more than the usual rivalry or jealousy that two of Trinamol Congress main rivals – the Congress and the CPI (M)-led Left Front have decided to stay away from Mamata’s swearing-in. There is no end to post-poll violence; and the obvious fear is: the worst is yet to come.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has been at the receiving end also with popular actress-turned-politicianRupa Ganguly’s convoy having already been attacked.
That brings us to the next ‘adda’ topic. What should people of Bengal expect next? Will Sonar Bangla continue to see violence? What about minoritism? There will be perhaps increased pampering of Muslims and also Christians – as Mamata Banerjee did not waste time to declare her visit to Vatican on September 4 for canonisation of Mother Teresa.
Will Left parties become inconsequential?
The last thing first–politically Left has dug its own graveyard. One only needs to recall what Biju Janata Dal MP, B Mahtab said on the eve of Assembly elections. “In the 1970s, the Communist Party of India (CPI) aligned with the Congress and was wiped out. I am afraid the Marxists (Communist Party of India-Marxist) have repeated that blunder in West Bengal this year. I do not agree with the argument that Left will benefit and Congress will not,” he said.
The Left Front strength in West Bengal has gone down below Congress. While CPI-M could win only 26, Forward Block got 2, RSP- 3 and CPI remained contended with only one, the Congress tally went up to 44.
Sitaram Yechury and his Bengal brigade in CPI-M central committee are under pressure. Knives are out.
Even glorifying terrorists and raising slogans– all seemed to go in waste. Kanhaiya and his army could not salvage the communists-liberals army.
Congress party has also started talking about “surgery” – whatever that means!
For the Left, the humbling was more significant. “This year’s elections in Bengal were different. Many opposed the partnership with the Congress. So the results do not leave anything to cheer about,” said a CPI-M leader.
It was certainly the loss of face for the ‘Bengal brigade’ which had insisted on an alliance with the Congress. “Kerala leaders and party hardliners led by Prakash Karat were not very keen for the alliance. Even from Tripura there was opposition to such a move. Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar too was against any alliance with the Congress. But Bengal leaders led by Biman Bose and Suryakanta Mishra insisted for a seat adjustment with the Congress. The rest is history now,” a CPI-M leader said.
Even Forward Block and RSP have sounded their displeasure the manner entire Bengal election strategy was worked out.
Minoritism and Lady Jinnah!
No Trinamool Congress postings on websites these days – without word ‘salam’. Has Didi turned neo-Lady Jinnah?
Minority appeasement especially of Muslims has been a trump card of the communists. Didi sensed that well and hence in 2001 parted ways with BJP – came back to NDA again in 2004 only to realise that “Bengali voters would not latch onto Hindutva party so easily”.
Trinamool MP and former union minister Sishir Adhikari had this to say to put things in right perspective. “During Marxist misrule when Singur and Nandigram happened, the people of Bengal saw us (Didi and her party) as genuine followers of Communist ideology. That was the turning point of Bengal politics.” This was when, he pointed out, Trinamool leaders started mocking CPI-M leaders as “pseudo-followers” of Karl Marx–as Buddhadev Bhattacharya ordered police firing on “farmers” in order to promote industries !
Therefore, post-2014 even as the saffron party’s electoral fortune surged in Bengal and BJP leaders ambitiously gave a call, “Bhag Mamata Bhag”; an influential section of BJP leadership acknowledged it well soon that they had their limitation. There was a “basic ideological barriers” for BJP – more than organisational weaknesses as media would often say.
The fact remains that the people of Bengal have given a resounding mandate in favour of ‘Didi’. They perhaps did not find a credible alternative. Now the onus on TMC and its leadership to deliver and let Bengal join the growth story of Bharat. Will ‘Didi’ deliver on this front is a million dollar?
(The writer is a political analyst)