A voting process in West Bengal is never complete without bloodshed and poll violence, especially under the fascist TMC regime. Keeping up with the time-tested reputation, numerous instances of violence had broken out in several places on Sunday, February 27, when the state went into municipal elections at 108 sites in 20 districts. Kolkata-based journalist Soumyajit Majumder took to Twitter to share that at least nine media personnel had suffered severe injuries after being physically assaulted during the civic polls.
They were trying to cover the irregularities in the electoral process such voter intimidation, fake voting and rigging when they were attacked. Equipment like cameras and mics were also snatched and thrown into drains. Several reporters including video journalists working with private Bengali television networks were attacked and have sustained injuries while reporting from Kanthi in Purba Medinipur district and in North Dumdum Municipality in Kolkata.
TMC workers created mayhem and interrupted the normal polling processes in many locations. Not only were the workers of the opposition parties beaten up but TMC goons also hurled bombs at them.
“2 EVMs vandalized at ward 9, the similar situation across the state. Police arresting BJP workers, not letting them vote. All booths have been captured,” said local BJP MP Arjun Singh, who is also the Vice President of BJP West Bengal’s state unit. “Only Police and goons are voting here. Voters are scared to vote, especially the Bengali population, who are not being allowed to vote. Even TMC’s core vote bank, Muslims are not able to vote. The police here are playing one of the 3 monkeys of Gandhiji,” he added.
It must be highlighted that Arjun Singh has been on the TMC hit list for long. The most recent attack on him by TMC goons came when he was on the way to attend a function to celebrate the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in the North 24 Pargana district.
The BJP further alleged that the TMC had created an atmosphere of terror in the Kanthi constituency where the leader of opposition Suvendu Adhikari resides. TMC workers had also brutally assaulted the elderly woman BJP candidate in Konnagar of Hooghly. All the opposition parties have levelled allegations of electoral malpractices against the TMC and demanded action.
Adri Roy, a CPM candidate living in the Kamarhati area of North 24 Parganas was also attacked with bombs on the night of February 25. There have been acts of violence in the Barrackpore region as well. TMC backed goons had attacked a CPM candidate in Arambag and beaten up several leaders of other political parties in the Murshidabad district. These attacks had accelerated in the final twenty-four hours prior to the actual polling.
A delegation of female workers and activists from the Left had visited the State Election Commission office on Saturday, February 26 to demand closed-circuit television cameras to be made operational during the poll hours in the vicinity. Echoing BJP MP Arjun Singh’s words, several leaders of all opposition parties have asserted that instead of assuring safe polling, the police kept emboldening the TMC goons.
BJP’s national Vice-President and one of the senior-most BJP leaders in the state, Dilip Ghosh has condemned these attacks in strong words. “It is unimaginable that there will be no violence in West Bengal during an election. There is no rule of law in Bengal,” he said.
State BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said, “Several of our agents and candidates were beaten up. Even voters and journalists were thrashed.” He further added, “The entire constitutional machinery, along with the law-and-order situation, has collapsed. We had no choice but to call the strike.” The state Congress president has also supported the call for a strike, while the Left Front has declared a sit-in outside the office of the state election commission.
But if you were to scan the front pages of all ‘national’ newspapers, you would get the impression that all is well in West Bengal bar some ‘minor disturbances’, that Mamata Banerjee has ‘solidified the mandate she won in the assembly polls’ and is thus now ready for the national stage. There are even attempts to normalize the political violence in the state and contrast it with its ‘low crime rate’.
Not one intellectual of note has dared to ask the simple question – would there be a similar acceptance of political violence as the ‘norm’ if a BJP-led government were currently governing Bengal and terrorizing the Opposition? How, in the 21st century, can the Indian State and its judiciary look the other way despite such an open mockery of democracy, when even states like Bihar – once reviled for booth capturing – have moved on and now conduct free & fair elections?
The answer is simple, even if it is bitter as truths often are – the Indian State and its elites are anti-Hindu, hence anything which is seen as blocking a Hindu renaissance is seen as good.