Modi govt’s alacrity in dispatching team to probe Bengal violence shows extent to which defeat has rattled BJP
The Ministry of Home Affairs headed by Amit Shah constituted a four member ‘fact finding’ team and dispatched it to West Bengal within ten hours of Mamata Banerjee being sworn as chief minister
While the Union Home Ministry seems to be busy trying to build a case for imposition of President’s rule in West Bengal and proceed against Mamata government for its alleged failure to check the eruption of post-poll violence in the state, Mamata Banerjee went on to announce that no one, even a Union minister, would be allowed to enter the state without a negative RT-PCR test report.
Announcing a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the families of the 16 persons who lost their lives in post poll violence, she accused Central ministers of inciting the violence that has erupted in the state after election results were declared on May 2.
She came out with the information in the backdrop of allegations that Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan’s car was attacked while he was visiting a village in West Midnapore to look into alleged post-poll violence. He did not come to the state for some official work, she said.
Mamata claimed: “The BJP-led NDA government at the Centre is yet to come to terms with its loss in the state Assembly polls. The BJP has not yet reconciled to the mandate of the common people. I will request the saffron party leaders to accept the mandate. Not even 24 hours have passed since I was sworn-in as the CM and letters and a Central team have started arriving."
She was quite harsh on the BJP leaders for their allegation that women were not safe in Bengal. She warned them to refrain from maligning the women of Bengal. She said that BJP leaders were unable to digest the fact that the women have overwhelmingly voted for her.
Referring to the statement of BJP president JP Nadda that the alleged attack on the minister showed a collapse of law and order in West Bengal, a senior state BJP leader said: “There was no reason for Muraleedharan to come to Bengal when Nadda is already here. Such visits simply add to the belief of the people that the BJP is busy scheming against Mamata. This is certainly not in the interest of the party”.
Nadda had already met the kin of workers of the saffron party who were allegedly killed during the post-poll violence.
The alacrity of the MHA, headed by Amit Shah, could be judged from the simple fact that just after ten hours of Mamata being sworn as the chief minister, Shah constituted the four member fact finding team and dispatched it to the state.
He even did not provide 24 hour respite to Mamata to take stock of the situation and act. His intentions were clear; he wanted to send the message that the state was ‘sitting on communal violence bomb which may explode any time’.
His hurry to take action against Mamata government is also manifest in his directive to the factfinding team to submit its report within 48 hours.
This time frame, according to Shah, is sufficient for the team to have a thorough probe and travel across the state to collect evidence and correct information.
The team will meet top officials of the West Bengal police apart from the chief secretary and other bureaucrats in the administration. It will also make field visits to some of the places where violence has been reported since Sunday and talk to affected families, sources said.
Shah and his mandarins must realise that through this illogical action, they were turning into a laughing stock in the eyes of the common Indian and this would boomerang on them.
The Modi-Shah duo’s political credibility has already taken a nose dive. Besides setbacks in Assembly polls, the BJP has badly lost in the panchayat election in Uttar Pradesh where their protégé Yogi Adityanath is ruling on their behalf.
The BJP must refrain from taking any self-defeating step which may trigger wide range protest against them. The agitating farmers have been simply waiting for the results of the Bengal election for launching a fresh agitation. The people of Bengal have expressed their anger against the BJP by ensuring that the TMC won a two-third majority.
Already dissenting voices have started emerging inside the BJP. Senior leaders like Tathagata Roy and others have blamed the state president Dilip Ghosh along with central office bearers for the defeat of the party and eruption of violence.
One development that ought to be mentioned is that the BJP has allegedly resorted to large scale violence in Uttar Pradesh also after losses in the panchayat election. The violence is more acute in central and eastern UP.
While the Jat-Muslim combine has wiped off the BJP from western UP, the party could manage to win some seats in the central and eastern region. The BJP has lost miserably even in Varanasi, the strong hold of PM Narendra Modi.
Taking cognisance of the situation, Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday transferred 30 top officers, including DGP P Nirajnayan, in her first action after being sworn in again as Chief Minister, warning that violence of any kind will not be tolerated. She pointed out that “inefficiencies” had crept into the administration during the long poll process when the Election Commission held control.
It is quite interesting to note that the areas administered by the EC nominated police officials were witness to large scale violence. Besides violence was being reported from areas where the BJP had won in the Assembly elections.
Meanwhile, some academic and intellectuals have condemned the comparison of post-poll violence in Bengal with the Direct Action Day of 1946 by Nadda. They held that Nadda is not aware of the historical facts. He was simply following the RSS line and trying to give the post poll clashes a communal colour.
He ought to know that the Direct Action Day, also known as the day of the Great Calcutta Killings, was the day when All India Muslim League leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah had called for a nationwide protest in 1946. The protests led to large-scale communal violence which took the lives of more than 4,000 people and rendered about 1 lakh people homeless in 72 hours.
Views are personal