West Bengal post-poll violence is unacceptable; Mamata, BJP must rein in their cadres
New Delhi, May 4:Violence in West Bengal within hours of the election results is unacceptable. It only sullies the image of Mamata Banerjee whose Trinamool Congress has emerged victorious. As caretaker CM who goes to take charge for a new five-year term tomorrow, she owes it to the people of the state to rein in violence and arson immediately. It equally devolves on the BJP, now emerging as the principal adversary, to cooperate and quell an atmosphere of violence and tension building up in the aftermath of the election.
As Mamata Banerjee herself put it, her first task now is to fight the pandemic. This cannot be done without the cooperation of all political parties and the people at large. Blaming each other for the orgy of violence will only exacerbate tension and further vitiate the atmosphere to the detriment of public interest.
Mamata inherited the culture of political violence from the leftists who ruled Bengal for 34 years through her own party’s role was no small. Trinamool unseated the leftists in 2011 after a lot of struggle and unease often exploding in violent clashes between CPI(M) cadres and the TMC supporters. That a large section of the left cadres have since moved to the TMC only reinforces the suspicion that it would not be easy to wish away the culture of violence. But now that the BJP/RSS cadres have also come up in the state’s political scene in no small measure, one can only visualize the situation to worsen unless urgent steps are taken. It would be unfortunate, otherwise.
Clearly, just lip service would not improve matters in West Bengal. Mamata Banerjee will need to wield strong-arm measures to rein in her own cadres just as the BJP, the ruling party at the Centre with growing clout in Bengal, will have to eschew retaliation at every incident putting the blame on the TMC.
Mamata Banerjee has a knack for putting things on the edge by taking an extreme stand on issues. Her omnibus attack on the central forces deployed on poll duty in Bengal recently is one example. Another example is her bland assault on the Election Commission, a constitutional body. This may suit her street fighter image, but will gravely damage the system. Prime ministers and home ministers will come and go. The system must remain.
Her demand for electoral reform at the back of serious charges against the Election Commission certainly needs to be looked into. Her insinuation appears to be the commission’s alleged yielding to the ruling party’s wishes in conducting polls. Such charges have been leveled in the past as well. In the heat and dust of electioneering, several unwanted statements are made by politicians. In the immediate instance, however, charges continue to fly thick and fast. There is no harm, therefore, if the Supreme Court looks into it as asked for by Mamata herself.
Indeed, this is not the time to squander energy on peripheral issues. Mamata will do well to focus on containing coronavirus cases in her state.
West Bengal post-poll violence/ West Bengal post-poll violence/ West Bengal post-poll violence/ West Bengal post-poll violence
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