By Arun Srivastava
The BJP leadership at both central level and the state level, has been making efforts to create a climate in Bengal for ousting Mamata Banerjee from the chief ministership of the state. It is still very difficult but the state BJP leaders are continuing to put pressure on the election commission not to hold by elections to the seven assembly constituencies including Bhowanipur from where Mamata will be contesting.
Mamata has to be get elected to the state assembly by November 4 as her six month period as a non- elected CM expires that day. She took oath on May 5 this year as CM, though defeated in the assembly elections. This uncertainty is accompanied by CBI’s speedy actions in the recent days to prove that the state government is guilty in the post poll violence in Bengal. All indications suggest that CBI will be presenting an interim report next month.
The CBI has already filed three more FIRs in the post poll violence chain. A total of 31 cases have been registered till now. Under instruction from its political boss, the CBI is not willing to take any risk. The earlier 31 FIRs were not enough to nail down Mamata. These three cases were filed in Purba Medinipur’s Nandigram and Cooch Behar’s Sitalkuchi areas. Trinamool leaders are questioning this move and express surprise how could CBI miss these cases as they relate to BJP’s projected chief minister candidate, Amit Shah’ blue eyed boy Subhendu Adhikari.
The TMC are confident that many more FIRs will be filed against the party and leadership. These leaders allege that many TNC cadres were brutally thrashed and some were even killed by the BJP goons, their homes have been destroyed, and women raped in various parts of the state but the CBI has not pains tom visit them and present their cases before the court. They lament that even the court has not cognisance of their allegation that three BJP leaders who have been inducted in the NHRC fact finding team have been primarily responsible for pushing the probe on wrong track. Some leaders also point out that since the NHRC fact finding team had already investigated the cases of violence, and submitted the list to the court, how could CBI on its own add three new cases.
They also point out that though the High Court was monitoring them probe, CBI to accomplish its mission to destabilise Mamata government and throw her out of power would come out with hundreds of plausible reasons to justify any of its action. The Calcutta High Court, after taking cognisance of an NHRC report on post-poll violence, handed over the probe to the CBI.
Meanwhile Mamata on Sunday dared the Modi government to send the National Human Rights Commission to Tripura over attacks on her party supporters “every day”. BJP and TMC have entered into a running feud in Tripura and the BJP government has been resorting to actions to victimise the TMC leaders and cadres. Only a month back TMC MPs and MLAs from Bengal, visiting Tripura for organisational work, were arrested and placed in jail custody.
In the backdrop of this development Mamata sought to know; “Will you send teams of National Human Rights Commission only to Bengal? Why were such teams not sent to Tripura while our people are attacked by goons there every day?”.Mamata had also alleged in her virtual address from Calcutta that even cops posted for the security of Trinamul leaders had not been spared. “They received injuries and were not allowed medicines or injection,” she said. TMC leaders were not allowd her MPs to visit Assam during the NRC protest there.
At Badharghat, the attack “by 15-20 armed BJP goons” was carried out at the house of Trinamool member Mujibur Islam Mazumdar 20 minutes before the joining event, senior party leader Subal Bhowmik in Tripura said. The injured were identified as Mujibur, Rony Mia and Subhankar Debnath. Subhankar was flown to Calcutta in the evening for treatment.
The reluctance of the BJP to facilitate Mamata to contest by election for getting elected to assembly has been creating much disquiet along the opposition parties. The deadline for Didi to be elected to the Assembly and remain chief minister is too close for comfort. Everyone in the Trinamool is talking about November 5, the deadline for Mamata Banerjee to be elected to the state Assembly to remain chief minister, with the party’s rank and file dwelling on the immediate future.
In Murshidabad’s Shamshergunj and Jangipur, elections could not be held along with the rest of the 292 seats because of the deaths of two nominees in the respective seats. Vacancies have come up in five other seats — Dinhata, Santipur, Bhabanipur, Khardaha and Gosaba — caused by either deaths or resignations. In fact on many occasions Mamata has expressed her displeasure over the Election Commission’s reluctance to hold the Assembly bypolls multiple times in the last few months. She lamented; “They held the Bengal assembly elections in eight phases when the Covid-19 positivity rate went up to 33 per cent. Now, when it is down to three per cent, they are not willing to hold the bypolls”.
For polls to be held in the seven seats, the election commission has time only till the end of September. The following month of October is when the festive season kicks off in Bengal. Already some BJP leaders have started speaking of not holding the by elections during the festivals. They argue that it spoil the festival mood.
The BJP has already made its stand clear that it would oppose any move to hold Assembly bypolls at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic was raging across the country. State BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu has already made public: “She has to go. Mamata Banerjee will no longer be the CM. Let her choose someone else from her party who has won the polls. There is no need for bypolls in the state now. We will oppose it.” The BJP is also using the threat of possible third phase to stop the by election. The leaders say they cannot think of risking the lives of the people.
Amidst this uncertain scenario, the central leadership of the BJP is gearing up with a gigantic electoral design. BJP sources confide that the leadership is hell bent on holding fresh assembly election. They have already started the basic work. Some senior leaders, intellectuals and academics have joined the think tank to give shape to the strategy.
This time the BJP would repose its trust in the backward caste non Bengal Hindus who migrated to Bengal. The BJP leaders point that most of 73 seats which the party could retain owes to their support. This section has clash of economic interest with the Muslims and even Hindus who have identified themselves with Mamata. The slogan “Jai Sri Ram” is being used as a tactical weapon to mobilise and consolidate this section. While the Bengali Hindus discard them and do not want to identify with their interest, this section of the new lower middle class treats the Muslims as their rivals and enemies.
They nurse the opinion that the emerging Muslim middle class has been grabbing all the opportunities which should have come their way. Their animosity with the Muslims is not of religious nature. Instead it is directly related to the economic interest. These people are denied space on footpaths to do hawking. They are striving for some kind of space. They nurse the view with BJP in power they can think to fulfil their aspirations. They have using Jai Sri Ram as their identity symbol. This section is spread across Bengal.
The BJP made this tactical shift in its policy only after its gains in Bihar. The party could perform well in Bihar based on their support. It is with the aim to strengthen its ties with this section of the electorates, the prime minister agreed to the proposal of Nitish Kumar and other opposition parties to have caste census. (IPA Service)