By Tirthankar Mitra
An incident of an activist of a political party being roughed up cannot be an occasion of joy and jubilation for it. Yet a barely concealed cheer prevailed in the West Bengal state BJP after one of its leaders was allegedly beaten up by Trinamool Congress activists during a Didir Doot (Didi’s messenger) programme when the former approached state minister, Rathin Ghosh with complaints about lack of civic amenities at Duttapukur in North-24-Parganas.
For it provides much needed ammunition to the game plan of the state BJP to show that the much publicized Didir Doot programme is a sham. The programme, a brainchild of chief minister Mamata Banerjee seeks to reach out to the populace to know of their grievances and address them.
The incident has occurred at a point when the fact that the state BJP is a house divided has become an open secret. It is indeed a boon to the state saffron camp to turn away the public attention from its spats.
The programme had enthused the Trinamool rank and file when Banerjee, the party supremo had announced it. For it is no secret to the veteran leader that her government in its third term faces a wave of anti-incumbency factor.
The BJP leaders have quickly closed ranks on her announcement. Party national vice president, Dilip Ghosh lost no time to point out that this programme is an admission of failure of the earlier announced scheme Duare Sarkar (government at your door)
Having hurriedly buried the hatchet, the BJP leaders along with. scores of supporters have. fanned out. Avoiding big rallies which need police nod, street corner meetings are being addressed by saffron camp leaders.
These small meetings seem to be sprouting in unlikeliest places where supporters of ruling dispensation are least expecting them. A crowded locality seems to only common factor of these meeting venues.
Sometimes these meetings’ duration is short. But before they are broken up allegedly by supporters of ruling dispensation the passing people as well as those who have gathered out of curiosity are getting an earful of blame heaped on the state government.
The Duttapukur incident shows Trinamool in its true colours – oppressor of the people, it is being said. Otherwise, how can the messengers of the chief minister who seeks to portray herself as the elder sister Didi to all and sundry rain blows on complainants voicing their genuine grievances.
The listeners, many of whom harbour grouses big or small against the present dispensation may not burst out in claps but are certainly nodding in silent agreement. Thus Didir Doot which was launched to strengthen and reestablish mass contact by Trinamool is being used to get leverage for itself by the saffron camp.
The Trinamool leadership is at a loss on both the fronts. No plausible explanation have yet been forthcoming to find out the reasons behind the spillover of the people’s resentment at the ministers and leaders when they face the people nor an acceptable reply have been given to the barbs of a suddenly rejuvenated saffron camp.
For much before the Duttapukur incident, state minister, Jyotipriya Mallik and party MP from Birbhum, Satabdi Roy faced the full blast of the people’s ire for the alleged non availability of the benefits of the state government welfare schemes, together with corruption charges in their implementation with the matter being made worse by delay.
If Mallik sought to soothe the irate crowd with folded hands, recognised all over the country as an act of apology, Roy in a gesture of solidarity sat down for lunch at a village hut. But Roy’ rising without finishing the homely fare drew flak that she had taken this occasion as a photo opportunity.
Small wonder, Roy faced the leadership’s wrath which Mallik deftly ducked. Unwilling to let go of this opportunity, Ghosh, state unit chief Sukanta Majumdar and leader of the Opposition, Suvendu Adhikari closed ranks.
The trio fired broadsides at chief minister, Mamata Banerjee saying it is high time she turned her words into deeds. For these leaders common refrain is that these lower level leaders are being forced by the chief minister to face the music owing to non-implementation of the projects she had announced earlier.
Continuing in a high decibel, the state BJP leaders pointed out that it has been the chief minister’s style of functioning which attempted to reach out to the people but left the announced projects unfinished. How come a project which was announced in the presence of a chief secretary by the chief minister remains unmonitored for years, it was asked.
The chief minister having placed the Didir Doot scheme in public domain seems to have unwittingly given a handle to BJP. The saffron camp leaders have seized it with both hands.
Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP Dr Santanu Sen’s contention that the programme will lessen the people’s ire following its outpouring have also been targetted by BJP leaders.
The Trinamool leader has in so many words acknowledged the existence of a plethora of incomplete projects, senior BJP leader Rahul Sinha said. Let us hope he will not be pulled up for mouthing an unpleasant truth, he added
Coming months before the panchayat elections, Didir Doot was expected to test the waters before the crucial rural polls. It has sprung an unpleasant to TMC which has realised that not only the waters are deep, it has unexpected undercurrents.
Didir Doot has turned out to be a blessing in disguise to the saffron camp in the state. The BJP leaders seek to utilise in its full measure as the people’s ire at Trinamool leaders at their doorstep is a belated acceptance of the charge of BJP leadership that words and deeds of the head of the ruling dispensation of the state are mismatched. (IPA Service)