Mamata’s ‘sickular’ (secular) polity at its height as she replaces the word ‘Ram Dhenu’ with “Rang Dhenu” in the school textbooks which shows how she distorts to appease Muslims for vote bank
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has always thrived on her rebellion image. Over the decades — as she fought Marxists — media often romanticised her role calling the illustrious Mamata Banerjee as a stormy petrel.
Mamata Banerjee is on political overdrive these days in more ways than one. In her highly ambitious political agenda to replace Narendra Modi as Prime Minister in 2019, she started playing ‘sickular’ (distorted secular) polity at its height and thus education syllabus under her government replaced the word ‘Ram Dhenu’ as Rang Dhenu. There are numerous such instances.
The argument being no Hindu god should get credit for bringing in ‘rainbow’ in the horizon!
She has described anti-Hindu violence in ‘Dhulagarh’ as “nothing happened” — Kucch hua nahi — rhetoric. On another plane in her fight against demonetisation, she has been making all sorts of charges against the BJP and the Modi government — including that a ‘murderous plan’ was hatched to kill her in a plane crash. Her
political opposition to Narendra Modi has reached such a crescendo that she says even L K Advani or Rajnath Singh or Arun Jaitley can replace Modi as Prime Minister to head a ‘National Government’.
In their right senses — no political party has taken her suggestions seriously. Top of these came in a series of arrest of two of her parliamentarians — including a long-time associate Sudip Bandyopadhyay in the Rose Valley chit fund scam.
All these episodes have today made politics of West Bengal look murkier than ever. “The confusion is palpable among the people as many feel they are not sure of the future political road map of West Bengal. Thanks to ‘maverick’ style of Bengal’s noted ‘elder sister’, the general impression is Didi is busy elsewhere — either politicking, giving away awards to film stars or hopping between Delhi, Patna, Lucknow and Kolkata. The agenda is clear — her Prime Ministerial ambition,” says Chiranjeet Shanyal, a Kolkata-based educationist.
Albeit such remarks are not in isolation. There are some individuals — in townships like Siliguri in North Bengal and Asansol in South Bengal — who believe the standard of ‘selective journalism’ is actually harming Bengal’s socio-cultural scenario more than the
“PM-material Didi herself”.
“Once upon a time — the Bengal press was known for being increasingly free and outspoken. Today — the lesser said the better. There has been a tendency to give cushion to Didi’s ineffective and rather partisan police force in Dhulagarh,” says Ajit Mazumdar, a retired government servant in Siliguri.
Thus, the real debate — on what really made Mamata furious following ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes has hardly seen the light of the day in the media. Ironically, both Mamata Banerjee herself and her party do not realise that Narendra Modi has made it big ‘nationally’ only after giving a semblance of ‘better government’ in Gujarat for over 12 years.
In contrast, the gimmick of minority-appeasement is driving Mamata Banerjee’s political engine room. Governance is hence hardly a priority before Mamata— who rather thinks she has the political acumen and opportunity to turn ‘anti note ban’ crusade as her Singur-2.
One need not to be politically extraordinary sharp these days in Bengal to realise that Mamata Banerjee’s “real anger” on note ban comes only due to the fact that cash flow probably suited her kind of politics as with most regional political players. Senior Marxist leader P Karunakaran rightly says: “The worst affected of demonetisation scheme politically will be Regional Parties like Trinamool Congress”.
Chit fund Games and Gamers
As one travelled across parts of South Bengal, North Bengal and adjoining Kolkata, everyone believes ‘Let the CBI probe continue and law should take its own course vis-a-vis chit fund frauds’.
But importantly, very few are willing to give benefit of doubt to the arrested Trinamool leaders. The citizens, of course, feel the CBI is now capable of opening ‘can of worms’ vis-a-vis chint fund scams and “greater
conspiracy” involved in money laundering and other offences with regard to many who is in West Bengal politics.
So far while the CBI seems to have done its part well and be making fast track progress in terms of investigation, the Trinamool Congress has not missed a day to play victim. “She will further intensify her victim card and even play up emotive sentiments that rest of India is anti-Bengali.
“This sentiment has a potential to work as most Bengalis down the line feel that New Delhi machinations have done injustice to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and also to the Marxist doyen Jyoti Basu,” says an Odisha-based politician.
Meanwhile, a prominent actress turned politician’s possible
interrogation by the CBI in the Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund scams can reveal more. West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh proclaims categorically that “While the opening batsman like Sudip Bandyopadhyay, the TMC floor leader in Lok Sabha, is behind bars, day is not far when the entire team will be in the pavillion”.
However, a temperamental leader like Mamata will certainly not give up her maverick style so soon. Hence she seems to be finding one issue a day to aggravate her confrontation with the Hindutva and nationalist forces
including the central government. Few instances: Mamata directed cops not to provide crime related information to the Union Home Ministry; On January 14, Kolkata police arrested West Bengal BJP vice-president Jay Prakash Majumdar for allegedly cheating job seekers. She is also targeting other BJP leaders like Babul Supriyo and Rupa Ganguly; Kolkata police initially declined
permission to RSS to organise a rally. But cops got a snub from the high court.
The war-cry seemed to have only begun.
As stated earlier—the confusion prevails. Mamata Banerjee’s ambitious game-bit for a major national role has got a snub after former associates Janata Dal (United) and Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP also slowly distanced themselves from Didi’s anti-CBI Dharnas. In fact, a known Modi-baiter Kejriwal has snapped ties with the Trinamool Congress in
Even insiders in the Trinamool camp believe anti-demonetisation campaign after December 30-31, 2016 deadline did not pick up much. The Trinamool MPs sat on Dharna in South Avenue in Delhi —but the exercise hardly stole media light — much to the chagrin of Ms Banerjee. Subsequently, the West Bengal police have now started acting against state BJP leaders.
The beginning hardly knows the end, as goes the popular adage. It is more relevant in the unpredictable murkier world of politics. Politics also offers a case of sleeping with enemies in its aristocratic style. So what lies ahead is certainly locked up in the womb of time. But some issues ought to be spoken in details, some brain storming is relevant. Is it not a curious case that a petition has come into light now that a chit fund ‘fraudster’ as the on-going investigation suggests so far — Gautam Kundu, Rose Valley owner, was also recipient of Presidential awards twice?
(The writer is a New Delhi-based freelance journalist who recently visited Kolkata, Siliguri and Asansol)