Editor’s note: West Bengal voters will slap Mamata in the next elections, we wrote a fortnight ago. Today, it gets worse, when we hear of a shameful incident where activists of the Trinamool Congress party chopped off the ear of a panchayat employee for not obeying the TMC diktat to ignore the bandh call in West Bengal.
The sordid tale of West Bengal is depressing at best and deeply worrying at worst. We see the ruling party that has done nothing positive since it came to power; we hear of TMC workers running amok, we hear of regular collapses of law and order and, finally, a state where the industrial climate, simply put, doesn’t exist.
If this is paribartan, no one wants it any more.
If this is paribartan (change), it’s not the paribartan that the electorate in West Bengal wanted.
It all began in May 2011, when Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress won the assembly elections. “The Trinamool Congress on Friday headed for a historic win in West Bengal, bringing down the curtain on the 34-year uninterrupted rule of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) led Left Front,” the Times of India had reported.
Since then, it’s been downhill all the way beginning with the highhandedness with which she dealt with the Tatas in the Singur case.
Take a look at what’s happened in West Bengal in the less than two years that she has been in power.
“Governments should not behave like goondas. That, in short, is the substance of today’s Calcutta High Court verdict declaring as unconstitutional the Mamata Banerjee government’s forcible re-acquisition of land from Tata Motors. The court’s objection is centred not so much on the government’s right to acquire land that the previous Left Front government had allotted to the Tatas for the prestigious Tata Nano project; it is rather more about the failure of the Paschim Banga government to observe the due process of law in taking back the land from the Tatas,” Firstpost’s Venky Vembu had written in June 2012.
Much water has flowed under the bridge then, with no evidence to demonstrate that Mamata Banerjee was any less a goonda than the court perceived her government to be.
A few days ago, Mamata Banerjee had threatned to slap her own security staff. “Banerjee, who had gone to the (Kolkata Book) Fair, publicly screamed and reprimanded at the security guards for the delay of her car at the gate. According to a IBN-Live report, West Bengal chief minister was seen shouting at one of her security personnel saying that he should be slapped. The police official was seen folding his hand and seeking forgiveness, the report stated, Firstpost had reported. “The cops could themselves file a defamation suit against Mamata for her recent outburst against them saying “chabkano uchit apnader” (you all should be whipped). Now it would be one thing if that was for any dereliction of duty such as not filing a rape victim’s FIR, or for over-zealous roughing up of a protester. But Didi apparently exploded because of the delay in getting her car to her after a visit to the Kolkata Book Fair,” we had followed up with.
Yesterday, it was the turn of journalists. After drawing flak for suggesting that security personnel should be whipped, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee again lost her cool, threatening to slap photo-journalists. (Read more here.)
These instances are only a continuation of a litany of bizarre orders, pronouncements and comments.
Take the now famous Park Street rape case. “Mamata set the bar way low when she dismissed the infamous Park Street rape case as a conspiracy concocted to malign her government and tried to cast aspersions on the character of the victim, out late in a bar by herself. Her minister Madan Mitra wondered why a “a mother had to go to a nightclub”. When another woman claimed she had been raped at gunpoint by a gang of robbers in a moving train Mamata rubbished it saying the victim’s late husband had been a CPI(M) supporter,” we had reported.
Reacting to the news of deaths of babies in hospitals, her comments had the world stunned. ““Fake rape charges are being levelled to malign Bengal’s good name. These are all are fabricated allegations. Baby deaths in hospitals, too, are a planned conspiracy by the Left,” she told at a press conference today. She said such incidents were being hyped in a planned manner to discourage the government from doing good work.”
An innocent question by a college student had Mamatadi up in arms. “It was to have been a milestone moment to mark Paschim Banga Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee‘s completion of a year in office after her historic victory in last year’s election, throwing out the Left Front that had been in power for over three decades. But in the end, an interactive TV show in Kolkata on Friday, hosted by CNN-IBN, between Mamata-di and students from the State showed up the Chief Minister at her cantankerous worst.
Banerjee called the students “Maoists” for asking tough questions of her – and then walked out of the show in a show of extreme petulance.” (Watch a video clip here.)
Mamata embarrassed herself and hit the final nail into the coffin in the context of her relationship with the Congress party when she broke ranks in the run up to the presidential elections. “Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee sticks to her choice, saying former APJ Abdul Kalam is the number one choice. She says she has not threatened anyone and does not intend to topple the UPA government, however, adds that if the UPA wants her to leave, she will. Defending the names proposed by her along with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh, she says it is not a local election and the names recommended are of the stature of becoming the President,” moneycontrol.com reported.
The breakdown in the relationship with the Congress began when she insisted that her party’s MP, the railway minister Dinesh Trivedi, be sacked from the union ministry over a budget she did not approve of. “Following Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee’s diktat to resign for increasing passenger fares in the Rail Budget, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi on Thursday morning sent his resignation letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,” IBNLive reported.
This list is not comprehensive, but it’s enough to leave the voter tired and despondent. This is not the change that they expected to see when they voted the TMC to power. There is absolutely no positive news about the state since Mamata di took over; she has repeatedly been the laughing stock of media and citizens across the country; she comes across as an intolerant person, unable to accept any view contrary to hers; she has repeatedly been in denial of provable facts.
The state is no safer than the one she inherited; there is nothing to indicate that the economic climate is any better than it was; and West Bengal has a chief minister who seems to be way out of her depth.
West Bengal will want paribartan again. This time, they’ll vote her out.