Bengal appears to have returned to the dark age since Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) has returned to power. The state that was once known for its art, culture, language, and intellectualism, is increasingly seeing lawlessness, and regional chauvinism as also attacks on political rivals.
TMC chief Mamata Banerjee is known for her aggressive stance against the other communities except for Bengalis and a similar approach has been adopted by her lieutenants. In a recent such incident, TMC MLA and an alleged Dalit activist Manoranjan Byapari has made a scathing attack against the Bihari community, he said: ‘Ek Bihari Sau Bimari’, that literally translates to ‘one Bihari equals to hundred diseases’. He made this absurd comment while delivering a speech at Kolkata Book Fair.
This is highly deplorable conduct punishable under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for promoting enmity between communities. However, the TMC leadership has conveniently chosen to stay silent while Byapari’s hate speech has been enthusiastically cheered by the ‘intellectual’ Bengalis showing the crippled mindset of the so-called Bengali Bhadralok community.
The leader of opposition Suvendu Adhikari tweeted and condemned the chauvinistic approach of TMC leaders. TMC has been stoking Bengali chauvinism by using ‘Bengali pride’ as a tool to keep its flock together. They are actually continuing the legacy of the Communist Party of India (CPI) which utilized the ‘Bengali Chauvinism’ to fulfil its political ambitions for several decades.
The Communist parties and TMC have cunningly instilled a feeling of superiority among the Bengalis in a bid to make Bengalis take pride in their culture and identity while looking down upon or ridiculing other Bharatiyas communities. The two parties were actually sowing hatred among the locals for the countrymen for narrow political gains. Both parties have transformed this feeling into their political capital and projected themselves as the sole protector of Bengalis.
They have also conveniently blamed the central government for the dire condition of the state and its citizens. Another nefarious propaganda is that North Indians, who are ruling Delhi are envious of Bengalis for the latter’s cultural and intellectual accomplishments, are depriving the West Bengal of its rightful dues.
Both CPI and TMC are masters at blending fake regionalism, pseudo-secularism, and illegal voting practices to remain in power for many decades. This misleading narrative has helped them to get away with their misgovernance, higher unemployment rates, pathetic law & order situation, poor infrastructure, and terrible financial condition of West Bengal.
Manoranjan Byapari’s is just following Mamata Banerjee’s footsteps who is herself is known to rant against people from other states and label them ‘outsiders’. If you remember, during previous assembly elections, she blamed people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar for creating law and order issues in West Bengal.
The irony is that she herself goes to other states (Goa and Uttar Pradesh) for election campaigns but she always tries to cast the BJP as a party of ‘outsiders’, and raises doubts on their sensitivity towards Bengali tradition and culture. Unfortunately, she has successfully created a misconception that BJP or other political parties are against the Bengalis and a large section of people fell for this propaganda which is apparent from the overwhelming majority given to TMC.
Just like their predecessors, the TMC has been successful in establishing that they are the promoters and protectors of the Bengali ‘Asmita’, interests, culture, and traditions. They have portrayed BJP as a party of goons and outsiders, who are here to destroy West Bengal and snatch their pride and intelligentsia. It is probably this perception of local vs outsiders that is responsible for post-poll violence as well which has seen thousands of BJP workers being selectively lynched or forced to leave the state by TMC goons.
However, once Mamata Banerjee steps outside West Bengal, she conveniently dons the more acceptable ‘nationalist’ veil to project herself as a worthy competitor of PM Modi. This is nothing but the hypocrisy of Trinamool Congress that tries to bulldoze other political parties’ election campaigns within Bengal by projecting them as ‘outsiders’, while at the same time it is trying to foray into other states, as we have recently seen in Goa.
The party that considers it a democratic right to expand its political footprints beyond West Bengal denies similar democratic and political rights to BJP, which is trying to foray into West Bengal. This is nothing but a blatant display of duplicity that TMC has normalized among its cadres, and Manoranjan Byapari is just showcasing the values of TMC by his hate speech against Biharis.