Re: [Arkitect India] Fwd: [The Moderates] Save Democracy in West Bengal
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.
Chandra Kumar Bose
Cell : + 91 983016534On 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@...>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <Mahajanapada@yahoogroups.com>
August 18 , 2013
Time to Rise to Save Democracy in West Bengal
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.
OUT AND OUT AUTOCRAT
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
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
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.
GAGGING THE OPPOSITION
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
CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITIES ATTACKED
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
PANCHAYAT POLLS MADE A FARCE
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.
GROWING ATTACKS ON STUDENT MOVEMENT
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.
CU, ASL, AMS, CLC, CMS
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Moderates" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to the-moderates+unsubscribe@....
To post to this group, send an email to the-moderates@....
Visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/the-moderates.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.