More than 50,000 Central and state troops are failing to control the violence unleashed by goons affiliated to political parties in West Bengal. Already quite a few people have been killed and more injured. Has the Mamata Banerjee government failed to bring in the "change (poriborton)" that the Trinamool had promised prior to the 2011 state Assembly polls and is the party now actively taking part in the violence? Senior journalist and columnist Sunanda K Datta-Ray joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.
Q. In the context of this violence during the WB Panchayat polls, how do you see things panning out for the TMC govt, because they have been no different from the erstwhile left govt. Asked by: satyendra
A. As far as rough and ready political methods go, there has never been much to choose in West Bengal between Congress, the CPI(M) and Trinamool. They all have their armies of thugs.
Q. What implications you see of this violence, will it anyways help TMC or strengthen the hooliganism of left? Asked by: satyendra
A. The irony is that many of Trinamool's hooligans today were the CPI(M)'s hooligans yesterday!
Q. TMC learnt the trick of "party villages" from CPM. So how CPM can complain about the violence? Asked by: prathap
A. To add to the reply I've just given, often the manpower (read hooligans) is the same.
Q. "Today, there are reports of large-scale violence from Bengal's vast countryside, just days before Panchayat elections are to be held. The Left, which started this politics of elaka dokhol, or "area capture", is now victim to the same treatment.In around one-tenth of the seats, Left candidates have not been allowed to file their nomination papers by goons of the Trinamool Congress. Mamata has learnt from the Left.But, surely, in the violence that has engulfed Bengal, every rule enshrined in the RPA has been broken." Is this democracy? Elaka dokhol or party village is started by CPIM. Is it a feather to democracy? Then why you fret about democracy? Asked by: prathap
A. It's democracy with desi characteristics.
Q. 90 percent TMC leaders are bunch of joker and hypocrites. What do you say? Asked by: Tanmoy
A. Are you saying that only 10 percent of other parties are jokers and hypocrites?
Q. I think sir, it's the other way round. She miscalculated the rot that the "Left" had "left" for her to be cleared. In her zeal to do something better than the left, she is finding it difficult. Over 30 yrs of left rule, only god knows what they can claim as their achievement. Almost all the leftist leaders are very good intellectuals, who can speak very well and shout and protest. It's a violence unleashed by both sides. Left is hell bent on proving that people of Bengal made a mistake by choosing Mamta, and Mamata is hell bent on proving that left I is the reason for what ills Bengal. With this mindset, on both sides, you can't expect anything better. Asked by: S ESHWAR
A. The interaction you describe also applies to Congress-BJP relations or JDU-RJD or any other twosome in the political arena.
Q. Has the Mamata Banerjee government failed to bring in the change? Asked by: sri
A. Life is always changing, but the changes that Bengal's educated urban middle class expected doesn't seem to be happening.
Q. Many corporates stayed away and moved away from Bengal due to the left threat and violence. The present situation gives no hope for improvement. Why the literate Bengalis do not understand this and undermine their own state's economy? Asked by: sundar1950in
A. I agree there's a contradiction here. Many -- perhaps most -- literate Bengalis as you say are instinctively sympathetic to the left. There is a suspicion that industrialists, especially foreign ones, exploit the masses. You must remember two things. First, Bengal had longer experience of the East India Company's profiteering than any other state. Second, Bengal's industrialists were never Bengali, apart from one or two exceptions. They were British, Punjabi, Marwari, etc.
Q. Will democracy, being practiced with a certain amount of enforced discipline,( a la Singapore ) be an answer to curb such violences. Asked by: sundar1950in
A. You are right. Discipline is much needed. I won't invoke the Singapore model for a society can be disciplined without fears of authoritarianism.
Q. Are Bengalis are more politically radical than the rest of India? Will this violence become the face of Bengal politics in near future? How far one can blame the TMC government? Asked by: SamChak
A. Yes to your first question though Kerala had a Communist government (1957) before Bengal. But the future may not repeat the past. There is now an appetite for the good things of capitalist society.
Q. A diamond cuts a diamond. Is it what TMC is attempting at Left by use of violence? Asked by: sundar1950in
A. Nothing so sophisticated, I'm afraid. TMC is just trying to consolidate and extend its hold.
Q. Bengalis are emotional. Is this the cause of violence of large scales? Asked by: sundar1950in
A. I don't see a direct connection between emotion and violence. Individually, Bengalis are very docile.
Q. Between the left and TMC who is more violent? Asked by: sundar1950in
A. So far, the TMC hasn't beaten the Left's record. But the TMC has only just started. Give it time to flex its muscles.