Friday, April 12, 2013

Mamata, West Bengal and Poribartan








Mamata Banerjee and her Trina Mool Congress (TMC) party stormed into power in the state of West Bengal in India some two year before. Ms. Banerjee has been credited for ousting left front government from its seat of power, that was occupied for more than thirty years. Ms. Banerjee is known for her ability to cause agitation and attack an issue like a pit bull. She is believed to be honest and uncompromising on issues related to poor people of the state. During her time as opposition leader, Ms. Banerjee made the industrial powerhouse, Tata Motors, to leave the state. She also fought against land acquisition for industry in other part of state. When came to power, Ms Banerjee was hailed as a person who will bring in a breath of fresh air to state politics, it was called "Poriborton", literally meaning change.

However, increasingly the leadership of Mamata Banerjee as chief minister is getting exposed. It is one thing to oppose functioning of state government and other to run the state as chief minister. As a chief minister, Mamata Banerjee has done many unthinkable things. She went to get her party cadres released from police station. She got an upright officer transferred for solving a case. She gets citizens arrested for questioning her. Her own nephew slaps a police officer and gets away. A police officer is killed in broad day light by goon pampered by her party, yet government does not do anything. A last straw a political activist is beaten to death in police station, honorable chief minister does not even order an impartial enquiry. You do not have to do left politics to condemn these events. It appears didi is unable to control her supporters, and because of her whimsical nature public servants probably feel it is better to go along with her than to oppose her. 


Then came the fiasco at planning commission office in Delhi. Chief minister and her finance minister visited the planning commission in the month of April, 2013. Instead of going through the gate used by dignitaries, Ms. Banerjee used a gate where left cadres were protesting. This gate had little police presence. Here Dr. Amit Mitra, the 70 year old finance minister of West Bengal, was pushed around by female protesters. Some said Ms. Banerjee was also pushed around. Using this as a pretext, Ms. Banerjee and her finance minister, got themselves admitted in hospital. They left Delhi, claiming it to be unsafe, and cancelled meetings with prime minister and finance minister.

 Meanwhile, public relations machinery of TMC went into an overdrive, claiming this fiasco was an attempt to kill the chief minister of West Bengal. At the same time, cadres of TMC started beating left party members, burnt their offices, attacked Presidency University, ransacked laboratories, destroyed equipments and threatned girl students with rape. Yes threaten university students with rape, in a state where chief minister is a woman!!

It is absolutely condemnable how Mr  Amit Mitra was manhandled outside planning commission. But to suggest that it was an murderous attempt on the chief minister and finance minister is Stretching conspiracy theory a bit too far. If someone wanted to kill the chief minister of Bengal they would adopt different means and methods and not send a few women cadre for pushing and shoving a 70'year old gentleman. By all account, chief minister had her police cordon and she was safe. 

It can be agreed that the incident was premeditated, but by TMC. Because, Mamata Banerjee and her finance minister were to use the VIP gate of Planning Commission. However, chief minister ignored police advice and decided to walk through the gate where protest was happening. I think very politically savvy chief minister, who is used to theatrics and histrionics, anticipated exactly what was going to happen if she confronted angry CPM cadres. She saw in this move an excellent opening to turn bad press due to death of Sudipto Gupta, the student leader who was killed in police custody in West Bengal, on its head and claim victimhood for TMC. 

Mamata Banerjee probably also planned to use this oppurtunity to paint CPM in the state black and tarnish the image of congress in Delhi and in rest of the country. Both of these parties are her opponents. She did cancelled her meeting with Prime Minister and Finance Minister on the pretext of being ill. But really didi, a little pushing and shoving made you to take oxygen! I think this is all playing to the gallery in West Bengal. Where she wanted to show how vulnerable she is as a woman and as chief minister from left orchestrated violence.  

All throughtout her chief minister ship, Mamata Banerjee has shown that she has to be contrarian. She opposed Teesta accord with Bangla Desh and made our prime minister look weak. She wanted to oppose presidency of Pranab Mukherjee, but she was out maneuvred by congress at the centre. She withdrew support from UPA, hoping that government will fall, but she again had egg on her face. She always wanted to be different and on top of things. With the fiasco at planning commission, she has been successful, never mind, West Bengal is burning, never mind a 70 year old man was pushed around. Mamata had to get on top, and she did. It is time  show this maniac the door.



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