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Re: [Arkitect India] Fwd: [The Moderates] Save Democracy in West Bengal

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  • ckb bose
    Good analysis of the current situation in West Bengal. But in spite of all this the TMC still has support at the grass root. The opposition needs to go deeper
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 23, 2013

      Good analysis of the current situation in West Bengal.  But in spite of all this the TMC still has support at the grass root. The opposition needs to go deeper into the pros & cons of this popularity angle being enjoyed by the TMC & take corrective measures to improve their position.  There is still a gap in communication between the opposition party,  the people & the electorate.
      Jai Hind!
      Chandra Kumar Bose
      Cell : + 91 983016534

      On 24 Aug 2013 00:04, "subhashini ali" <subhashiniali@...> wrote:

      ---------- Forwarded message ----------
      From: "A. Mani" <a.mani.cms@...>
      Date: Aug 22, 2013 8:33 PM
      Subject: [The Moderates] Save Democracy in West Bengal
      To: "sarai list" <reader-list@...>, "The Moderates" <the-moderates@...>, <issuesonline_worldwide@yahoogroups.com>, <Mahajanapada@yahoogroups.com>


        People's Democracy
      Vol. XXXVII
      No. 33
      August 18 , 2013

      Time to Rise to Save Democracy in West Bengal

      Hannan Mollah

      THE Trinamul Congress (TMC) government in West Bengal, led by Ms
      Mamata Banerjee, has during its two years rule did its best to ensure
      that democracy is demolished at all levels --- in government,
      politics, society and culture.


      Nor is there any democracy in her party; she is an out and out
      autocrat of intemperate, intolerant and fascistic nature. She does not
      allow any minister of her government to take a decision, small or big,
      without her consent. There is no elected office-bearer in her party at
      any level. She is the sole authority of her party and runs it as her
      private limited company.

      The same thing is reflected in her governance. She is totally against
      the opposition parties and never calls them for a meeting. While the
      Left parties are an anathema to her; even her old partners, the
      Congress and SUCI, are never consulted. She does not attend the
      assembly and is not ready to face a question there. To her, the
      opposition only conspires against her. She or any of her ministers do
      not call any opposition MLA or MP when they visit a constituency. She
      never invites an opposition legislator for inauguration of a project
      in his constituency. She behaved the same way when she was the railway
      minister. In the last two years, her government never called a meeting
      of the chairpersons of 14 opposition controlled zilla parishads. Her
      ministers do not attend any meeting called by a district, subdivision
      or block level authority if those meetings are to be attended by
      opposition parties.

      This same behaviour was noticed when the TMC was in opposition. Its
      MLAs were instructed to boycott any government meeting. She refused to
      attend any meetings even though the then chief minister wrote to her
      seven times.

      Can a democracy function in this situation?

      As for physical attacks on the opposition, she came to power with the
      slogan “Badla noy, badal chai” (not revenge but change is needed). But
      the last two years rule is nothing but a rule of revenge. More than
      100 CPI(M) cadres were killed before and another 24 during the
      panchayat elections. Immediately after she came to power, CPI(M) and
      other Left parties came under attack. More than 800 offices of these
      parties, trade unions, kisan, student, youth and women organisations
      were attacked, burnt, looted, destroyed or captured. On the plea of an
      incident at Planning Commission office in Delhi, TMC goons attacked
      and destroyed 1400 plus offices of the CPI(M) and mass organisations.
      Thousands of its leaders and activists were attacked, and their houses
      were attacked, destroyed or looted. More than 5,000 of the CPI(M)
      cadres were driven out of their houses; women were assaulted or raped.
      Even the aged and children were not spared. Thousands of bargadars
      whom the Left Front government allotted land and right of cultivation,
      were evicted from their land.

      Another problem is that about 10,000 of cadres were implicated in
      false cases. While TMC goons attack opposition cadres, the police
      arrest the victims themselves and implicate them in false,
      non-bailable cases; the goons freely move and threaten their
      supporters. Ms Banerjee herself makes provocative speeches against the
      Left, encouraging the goons to attack the CPI(M). TMC leaders publicly
      said they would kill the CPI(M) the way one kills a poisonous snake.
      They instruct their party people not to speak with CPI(M) people, not
      to go to a tea shop with them, not to attend any marriage or other
      functions with them and not to establish any marital relations with
      CPI(M) supporting families. Thus they are destroying social harmony,
      dividing the common people in villages and towns, creating hatred
      among them. This may create a permanent cleavage in society and damage
      the social fabric.


      These attacks intensified before and during the panchayat polls. As Ms
      Banerjee and her party are out to destroy democracy, deny opposition
      its rights, generate hatred on political lines, damage the social
      fabric and even instigate communal feelings, they are out to destroy
      the constitutional institutions and functioning too. While
      parliamentary democracy cannot function without an opposition, she is
      not ready to allow the latter to function freely. Opposition parties
      are not being allowed to hold meetings, not given permission for
      meetings, and not allotted grounds and parks.

      The media are called “the fourth estate” in a democracy. But they are
      under severe attack. Only such newspapers or TV channels as support Ms
      Banerjee are allowed to work freely. Only pro-government newspapers
      are kept in libraries and government offices. Ms Banerjee herself
      advised people to read the papers or view the TV channels which she
      prescribes. Newspapers critical to government are being attacked; more
      than a dozen of journalists, reporters or photographers were attacked
      and their cameras destroyed. If journalists ask Ms Mamata a difficult
      question, she immediately dubs them as CPI(M) or Maoist fellows and
      asks them to leave her press conference. Daily Ganashakti is not
      subscribed to by a library; she has stopped any advertisements to
      Ganashakti even though the High Court has asked her to resume it. Even
      hawkers of newspapers to her dislike were not allowed to go to people,
      while hundreds of Ganashakti boards were destroyed. Thus the
      government of West Bengal is trying to gag the opposition opinion and
      suppress the freedom of media.

      Some incidents may be recalled here. Once a professor forwarded on
      internet a cartoon on Ms Mamata and he was instantly arrested; the
      case against him is not yet withdrawn. One TMC supporter asked Ms
      Banerjee in a public meeting about scarcity of fertilisers; she
      immediately branded him as a Maoist and asked the police to arrest
      him; the case is not yet withdrawn. In both cases, the National Human
      Rights Commission flayed the government’s stand and asked for
      compensation to the sufferers. But the government refused to accept
      it. One girl asking Ms Mamata a question in a TV show was also branded
      Maoist and Ms Mamata quit the show. The last two years saw hundreds of
      such incidents of Ms Banerjee’s intolerance.

      Another area of concern is the unprecedented growth in incidents of
      assault against women in Bengal since Ms Mamata assumed office. In the
      notorious case of gangrape in Park Street, she immediately said it was
      a stage managed show. But when the case proved to be true, the
      inquiring police officer was transferred. After a series of other rape
      cases, a TMC activist recently raped and killed a college girl in
      Kamduni village in Barasat, North 24 Paraganas district. But Ms
      Banerjee visited the place only after ten days of the incident and
      when some women wanted to talk to her about it, she termed them all as
      CPI(M) cadres and Maoists. More than a dozen rapes have occurred in
      Barasat alone. (In that panchayat, the TMC won all the seats
      uncontested as no opposition candidate was allowed to file
      nomination.) The National Commission for Women and the National Crime
      Bureau have reported that West Bengal now ranks highest in number of
      rapes. While Kolkata was once a safe haven for women, now it is rape
      capital under Ms Mamata. Of course, to her mind, these are stage
      managed cases, and a conspiracy to defame her government.

      In West Bengal, peasants were in a better position due to land reforms
      under the Left Front government. They also got government assistance
      and their crops were purchased by a government agency at proper
      prices. Not a single peasant committed suicide during the 34 years of
      Left Front rule. But peasants are in great distress now, and so far 87
      have committed suicide. But Ms Mamata says this too is a false
      propaganda against her government and no farmers committed suicide in
      her regime.


      Constitutional authorities too are under attack. The Human Rights
      Commission listed dozens of cases of the government violating the
      human rights of the people. But most of the cases were not heeded to.
      Ms Mamata has showed total disregard for this commission.

      Similarly, the Kolkata High Court made several remarks against the
      government for violation of the people’s democratic rights. But the
      government disregarded many court orders. After the Supreme Court
      ordered deployment of central forces for panchayat elections, her
      government used them mostly for patrolling on roads and not to protect
      voters from TMC goons.

      The disregard shown to the State Election Commission about the
      panchayat elections is well known. Her government attacked the
      commission and the commissioner. Ms Banerjee said the commissioner had
      got extension under the Left Front rule and was therefore working
      against the TMC government. All her ministers abused this lady, used
      filthy languages against her, threatened her and tried to throttle her
      attempts to conduct elections properly.

      Earlier, the Left Front government established a vibrant panchayati
      raj in West Bengal. It was regarded as an ideal decentralised
      democratic setup and followed in the whole country through the 73rd
      constitution amendment. The Left Front government conducted seven
      panchayat elections, all in time. The poor for the first time got an
      opportunity to utilise their vote freely, and majority of the elected
      members were poor people. But Ms Banerjee tried to destroy this
      decentralised rural democracy. She started to ignore the elected
      panchayats and started to contact BDOs directly, asking them to work
      as per her advice. She encouraged the bureaucrats to ignore elected


      Her dillydallying in holding the panchayat elections is ell known.
      First she announced elections without talking to the election
      commissioner or revising the voters list which is mandatory. The Left
      Front then approached the CEC who ordered a revision of electoral
      rolls; about 25 lakh new voters were enrolled. Then she announced two
      days polling with only state police being used, whereas the State
      Election Commission asked for five days polling with use of central
      forces. The government disregarded it and the EC approached High Court
      which upheld the latter’s plea. The government then appealed to a
      double bench of High Court, which took a lot of time. When the EC
      approached the Supreme Court for an early decision, the latter ordered
      five-phase election and use of central forces. The Supreme Court also
      flayed the bad law and order situation in the state. The polling
      period fell in the month of Ramazan and Ms Mamata tried to postpone
      election on this plea, but the Supreme Court said the state government
      was responsible for the delay and for fixing the polling dates in the
      month of Muslims’ fasting. All her attempt to delay the elections thus
      failed; they were finally held in five phases.

      But Ms Banerjee made the election a farce. She organised a squad of
      motorcycle borne goons to terrorise the people. Though the High Court
      ordered her to check this force, she did not pay heed to it and
      continued the terror activities. As a result, 6000 plus Left
      candidates could not file nomination papers and TMC ‘won’ those seats
      uncontested. During polling too, TMC goons terrorised the voters with
      police help. Central forces were either kept in barracks or used for
      street patrolling. As a result, there was wide ranging booth capturing
      and intimidation of voters. Driving many voters away, TMC goons thus
      captured 4,470 booths. The police worked fully in tandem with them. A
      large number of Left activists were attacked and 24 killed during the
      election period. Later, TMC goons captured many of the counting
      centres, damaged ballot papers and even declared their candidates
      elected without proper counting.

      It was thus that the TMC ‘won’ 14 zilla parishads and a majority of
      panchayat samitis and gram panchayats. The Left could win in two zilla
      parishads and the Congress managed two. The final tally shows that out
      of 48,800 gram panchayat seats, the TMC won 25,077 seats (51 per
      cent). In spite of all such severe attacks, rigging and capturing,
      Left Front won 15,593 seats (32 per cent) and the Congress managed
      5,506 (11 per cent). Even if the result of is uneven, it is not so bad
      for the Left in view of such semi-fascist attacks. The TMC victory in
      fact does not reflect the people’s support.

      This means Ms Mamata’s resolve to eliminate the Left from West Bengal
      got a rebuff; the Left still has substantial support base and strength
      to fight back for restoration of democracy.


      West Bengal has had a long history of democratic student movement,
      with regular elections to student unions. Schools too are managed by
      representatives elected by guardians. But the TMC has criminalised a
      section of students and is attacking the democratic sections of
      students. Colleges, universities and schools were attacked by goons
      all over West Bengal and many students were killed. Union elections
      were announced under strong pressure from students but when the Left
      oriented organisations won in colleges where free and fair elections
      took place, elections to the remaining were postponed on the plea of
      violence in educational institutions. Thus the democratic rights of
      students were curbed in West Bengal. When the SFI protested against
      it, one of its leaders, Comrade Sudipta Gupta, was killed in police
      custody, for which a CBI enquiry was denied.

      After observing its growing isolation from the masses, the TMC decided
      to dispense with all elected bodies in the state. Instead of elected
      bodies, they are now going in for nominated bodies for management of
      schools, colleges and cooperative bodies in the state.

      When the true face of Mamata government came out gradually, it
      disillusioned even those intellectuals who had worked hard to bring
      her to power. Now all such intellectuals, writers, artists, film
      actors, poets and professors do say that the paribarton (change) they
      had expected has not come. They are now feeling cheated and openly
      saying so in their writings, in their TV talks and in public meetings.
      Minorities too were influenced by her demagogy and false promises. But
      they too are feeling cheated as, within three months of coming to
      power, Ms Banerjee announced that she had completed 100 per cent of
      her promises to the Muslims.

      This is thus the experience of many in West Bengal --- that the
      promised paribarton has not come. Expectations of no section of the
      people were fulfilled. The people of Singur were assured to get their
      land back in three months, but nothing has happened after two years.
      Dozens of railway projects Ms Mamata had promised as railway minister
      have proved false; not a single project whereof foundation stones were
      laid was taken up for implementation. Ms Banerjee’s falsehood
      regarding the state’s development is increasingly coming to the fore.
      If anybody raises a question about it, brutal force is there to
      suppress him. Thus this is high time --- not only for the Left but for
      all the democratic forces --- to rise to the occasion and fight for
      restoration of democracy in West Bengal.



      A. Mani

      A. Mani
      CU, ASL, AMS, CLC, CMS

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