Why BJP's rise in Bengal has rocked Mamata's boat

West Bengal CM even pleaded with her party to be friendly with the Left and list the dangers of RSS.

 |  4-minute read |   27-04-2017
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"Dilli theke elo Ram, Sange niye nilo Baam (Ram came from Delhi with the Left in tow).” West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has coined this slogan and she wants it to be chanted till people realise that Ram and Baam (Left) are together. In other words, BJP and the Left are into some tacit understanding.

This is the counter to the rumour of the Modi-Didi friendship, the Left and the Congress keep spreading from time to time to chip away into 30 per cent Muslim votebank. Though Mamata’s speculation on the BJP-Left friendship is off-the-cuff, she is banking on the recent by-election results of Contai (South) Assembly seat as an empirical truth.

The results have shown a 22 per cent increase in the BJP’s vote-share and a 28 per cent decrease in the Left’s votes. So by simple arithmetic, the gain of one is apparently at the expense or the indulgence of the other. “They are transferring votes to each other,” Mamata said as a matter-of-fact, dismissing any thought that the BJP is becoming a formidable force in Bengal politics.

That was a public posturing of don’t-care attitude, but deep in her heart, Mamata is not at peace.

At a closed-door party meeting last Friday, she pleaded with her party men to be friendly with the Left and try and reason out with them the dangers of bringing in the BJP and the RSS. There was also an open invitation to the Left that it should try and hold onto its flock and address the grievances of the disgruntled party members. A renewed Left and Congress would mean a dissipated BJP.

That BJP has narrowed down on Bengal as its next battleground state is in writing now. West Bengal saw an unprecedented show of strength on the day of the Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti. Apart from the huge participation of people, the state witnessed a gutsy spirit to dare the ruling party.

ramnavmibd_042717105807.jpgWest Bengal saw an unprecedented show of strength on the day of the Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti.

Processions brandishing swords, bows and arrows and other weapons snaked through various roads of the state. The state administration could do nothing but watch as bystanders. Mamata, furious to witness the BJP road-show, especially by the strong participation, asked the police to slap non-bailable charges of the Arms Act on BJP leaders and supporters, carrying arms.

However, the Mamata Banerjee government fumbled and whimpered when BJP leaders dared the administration to arrest them and criticised the chief minister of being biased against Hindus. Words were around about the chief minister being "tolerant" towards a particular community.

Scared that such rumours would spread like a fire and stoke the religious polarisation, which the BJP was aiming at, Mamata asked her party leaders to celebrate Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti. The city saw cut-outs of Ram, Hanuman and Mamata Banerjee. “Ram ka Naam Badnaam na karo,” read placards and hoardings.

Mamata is trying hard to prove her Hindu background, her birth in a Hindu Brahmin family, where as a kid she grew up listening to Sanskrit shlokas. Apart from the imams and maulavis, Hindu monks, either from Bharat Sevashram Sangha or Ram Krishna Mission, are being invited in government programmes — the recent one being the celebration of the Civil Service Day on April 21.

Meanwhile, BJP national president Amit Shah and Mamata Banerjee are currently on a whirlwind tour in north Bengal, pitted against each other for the great Bengal political circus. While Shah is touring extensively, going door-to-door, having lunch with the Dalit-Hindi family, sitting on the floor of a thatched house, Mamata is smirking.

The BJP is borrowing heavily from her brand of politics and style of functioning. Someone whispered of similarity between Didi and Modi, and Amit Shah laughed his head off: “If it had been so, would Mamatadi had bothered to attack us so much?”

Some Logic.

(Courtesy of Mail Today.)

Also read: Why Bengalis won't tolerate attempts by Hindutva brigade to ban fish

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Romita Datta Romita Datta

The writer is Associate Editor, India Today.

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