By Nitya Chakraborty
The polling to the third phase of the state assembly elections in Assam and Bengal will be taking place on April 6.On the same day, the polling to the t two other states Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the union territory of Puducherry will be completed- thereby completing the polling in three states and one union territory. After that only Bengal will be going for polling in another five phases till April 29.
The eight phase of polling in Bengal is something unprecedented which the election commission could have avoided by limiting the schedule to maximum five phases. If law and order is the only issue for resorting to this long haul in Bengal in this scorching summer, it could have been organised by adding another two phases at the maximum. The central forces will be free after polling in three states and one union territory after April 6 polling and good portion of them could be deployed in Bengal to complete the process in five phases. If in Kerala, where the tempers ran quite high in the campaign, the polling could be completed in one day, in Bengal, it could be completed in five phases, if the EC wanted.EC machinery is quite experienced now and there should have been no problem in organising the reduced schedule.
But it was not done in Bengal and there is a deliberate BJP plan behind this which has been a part of the Modi-Shah strategy. Since Bengal is the key to the BJP game plan in this state assembly election and the Sangh Parivar wanted to surround Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from all sides taking the optimum assistance of the RSS cadres including other states, central agencies and the deployment of massive financial assistance. The constant presence of the Prime Minister in Bengal during the campaign and the Home Minister Amit Shah’s stay in operation in the state are a part of that strategy to put psychological pressure on the IPS and the IAS officers in Bengal.
PM and the central ministers have every right to campaign in the state elections but it never came to this dimension as happened with the present PM till now. He is visiting the far off districts and declaring every day that the BJP is coming to power while his home minister is telling the officials that the new BJP government will take action against erring officials. Since the BJP IT cell has created a hype that the BJP is coming to power and this is being echoed through thousands of apps promoted by BJP and twitter handles, there has been some impact on the serving officials. This happens in every election among the officials .And the BJP is trying to make use of it in this elections as a part of its organised mind games.
The prolongation of the polling process till April 29 in Bengal suits BJP because the party is organisationally weak in many districts and this will help the party to mobilise its volunteers at ease from one place to another. The saffrons flush with funds can undertake this task comfortably, but for the Trinamool Congress and the Left-Congress alliance, it requires additional financial resources to sustain the campaign. There will be continuous pressure on the officials, fence sitting voters and even the TMC cadres during the campaign to change sides in favour of the’ winning party”. PM Modi and the HM Shah will be all pervading in the campaign in Bengal after April 6 and their sole focus will be continuing the pressure on the officials till April 29.
Rahul Gandhi is right when he said that the institutions are being used against the opposition. The EC at first banned the Assam BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sharma from campaigning for 48 hours according to the rule book on a charge which Sharma also admitted. But soon, the pressure was amounted on EC as that would have cost BJP campaign adversely affecting its prospects in the third and last crucial phase of the election on April 6.Immediately the EC reduced that to 24 hours meaning that Himanta was free to campaign on the last day of campaigning. That was how our great autonomous authority functioned.
Similarly, the IT department raided DMK leader Stalin’s house and seized documents which got big publicity. This could have been done, if needed, after the polling on April 6. But this was deliberately done to show Stalin in poor light. This is actually going to boomerang on the BJP-AIADMK alliance. But this showed how the central agencies are being used by the Centre to serve the political interests of the ruling party.
Now as regards the Supreme Court, the august body is abdicating its responsibility to the Indian constitution and is not doing its sacred duty to uphold the level playing field in the functioning of democracy. The Court did not give any stay to the issue of electoral bonds on April 1 during the course of polling in the states. The bonds are for sale till April 10 and like the earlier times, the BJP will be cornering more than 90 per cent of the bond values of hundreds of crores, giving further boost to its financial muscle in the election campaign in Bengal.
Even an award like Dada Saheb Phalke award has been given to Rajinikanth just on the eve of the assembly elections in Tamil Nadu. This is a special award given by the government for life time achievement. This can be awarded any time during the year. Why now when Rajinikanth has a massive fan base and he has some powers to influence his fans to any political party in his state. Interestingly, Rajinikanth immediately thanked the Prime Minister for this. BJP has been trying to rope in Rajinikanth to the party for quite some time, but for some personal reasons, Rajini has not joined. Now his fans have got a signal before the polling on April 6.
Despite all these machinations of BJP to corner the opposition parties in the assembly elections, by making use of all undemocratic methods, indications are coming that things are not rosy at all for the BJP. In Bengal, withstanding its pincer moves from all directions, Mamata has put BJP on back foot in the first two phases of polling. TMC is expected to improve further in the coming six phases of elections. If the results of May 2 can give the BJP a decisive rebuff to its diabolic plans, that will be a big tribute to the fight for the survival of democratic functioning in India. (IPA Service)