NM Opinion: Politics As Usual Exploiting Dead Bodies In Bengal

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The Bengal politicians, it appears, love dead bodies. From the 1960s, the leftists provoked their supporters to go for militant movement, and whenever some people died they made the best of their efforts to cash on in it.

From the ‘90s Mamata Banerjee started using the same technique. The same thing is happening this time again after four people died in Sitalkuchi in firing by central forces and one BJP supporter in firing allegedly by the TMC supporters on Saturday.

Mamata Banerjee has asked the people to ‘give befitting reply to killings by the central forces’ by giving her one vote each by all in the remaining four phases. This is in tradition with her politics. Her teammates, including Kabir Suman, a famous lyricist-composer and singer, had started a campaign against the paramilitary jawans as ‘outsiders’.

A placard held yesterday by Kabir Suman said ‘the outsiders’ have killed ‘the Bengalis’. Bimal Gurung, the belligerent Gorkhaland movement leader who deserted the BJP last October to join hands with the TMC (and subsequently got all cases, including murder cases, against him withdrawn) has claimed openly that this firing will be a ‘turning point’ in this election.

Incidentally, the four persons who died in the CISF firings were all Muslims, and the person who died allegedly in the TMC firing was a Hindu. Now the leaders are playing on communal lines on it. Firhad Hakim, the most prominent Muslim face in Didi’s ministry and party, said, “There was no incident of booth capturing at Sitalkuchi. The central forces deliberately opened fire to terrorise the people of the minority community. This technique will not work in Bengal.”

Both Narendra Modi and Amit Shah blamed the Chief Minister’s call to ‘gherao the central forces’ for Saturday’s incident. Along with that Shah asked why Mamata Banerjee is not perturbed about the death of Ananda Burman and is raising the issue of the deaths of the people of one community only. More direct was Dilip Ghosh who has warned of more such incidents if the ‘TMC people’ do not behave. Everybody understands what he actually means when he says ‘TMC people’.

But how people are going to react to it? Perhaps it will not cause any change of mind, for it seems that overwhelming sections of the voters have already made up their mind. Near about 85 percent voting in the first three phases and 80 percent voting in the fourth phase is indicative of this trend. However, continuous harping on this incident may worsen the communal situation in Bengal.

(The author Diptendra Raychaudhuri is a senior journalist based in Kolkata. He has a wide range of experience in covering West Bengal politics and has authored several books)

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