Political Plight Of Bengal- Once A Leading State In India

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Muscat, Oman – People of Bengal voted TMC (Trinamool Congress) to power three years ago with hope of change, for better governance, for development of the state. Bengal’s electorates, allegedly known for their apathy to change and traditional mindedness, made the change possible for the first time in three decades through their electoral rights.

People were fed up with left rule and lost confidence on false election promises of CPM leaders. Many did not have full confidence in Mamata Banerjee, the fire-band leader of TMC, for her inconsistency and arrogant attitude but considered her as “person of the hour” who could garner strength to throw the Communists out of the Writers Building. Be it in rural or in urban areas, the mood of change was visible. Large number of supporters of CPM left party to become supporters of TMC overnight.

The emotional, overwhelming oath taking ceremony of Mamata, raised many hopes in the mind of people of Bengal. However that soon started to prove as short-lived. Investment starved state needed growth-oriented industrial policy to attract investment from domestic industrialists.

The new government should have initiated attractive schemes for investment, should have attempted to create favorable environment, facilities, infrastructure and made efforts to win investors’ confidence. The government should have made efforts to change the image of the state from hostile trade unionist to investor friendly. Stray efforts made by Mamata were not good enough to create her own trustworthiness to investors. Efforts were not adequate to improve theindustrial scenario. Thus generation of employment, creation of jobs for youths remained a distant dream.

Many administrative decisions, style of functioning, decisions of Mamta’sGovernment raised questions from various quarters: “Did people of Bengal want such change? Have people got the benefit of change they sought?”

In fact as the time passed, her arrogance, style of functioning, trust and faith in some ministers, party leaders, attempts to induce party dominance at every level created chaos, indiscipline, hooligan in the society and encouraged own party workers to act freely to spread violence in the state. Characteristically she always adopted strategy to attack media, other political parties, Central Government and Government Agencies to cover up her own failures and to protect her party leaders.

To cover up failure in attracting investment and development of state economy, failing to establish good federal relationship with Centre, Mamata adopted to spread propaganda that the situation in Bengal improved in many areas as compared to other much developed states in India.

To cover up failure of pre-election promise of returning lands to farmers in Singur, she tried to do many things from complaining about legal system to even threatening industrialists, such as the Tata Group. To cover up failure in creating infrastructure to boost tourism sector, as promised, she preferred to divert attention by keeping eye on electoral gains. To cover up administrative failure of the government, failure to maintain law and order, failure to stop violence in rural areas, in educational institutes and in the society at large, she opted to always blame media, opposition political parties and central government.

Several incidents of sexual assaults on women, crime and violence, act of terrorism, unruly acts of party workers at educational institutes and failure to carry out thorough probe in financial scam wherein thousands of small poor investors lost their hard earned money, can be cited as failure of MamataGovernment.

The hush up acts and attempt to destroy of evidence of the accidental blast occurred in Burdwan, cannot be accepted by any citizen, especially for the safety of the country. Destruction of evidences, destroying recovered bombs from the spot by Bengal Police, dumping the materials, detonators in the river of Damodar without keeping them for further investigation by the country’s intelligence agencies raised many questions and doubts about functioning of the state government with true national spirit.

Such acts prima facie hinted involvement of own party workers. Instead of cooperating with Central Investing Agencies, she and her party spokespersons raised voices against Agencies and Central Government, citing conspiracy theory against her and her party workers.

Sharda Chit Fund scam is another case wherein many of TMC leaders are said to be involved, actually broke out soon after TMC government came to power about three years ago. Instead of conducting the probe impartially, her government tried to cover up many facts and did not want to conduct fair probe. The matter went to higher courts and CBI probe was ordered. This was going on for past couple of years, even before new BJP government came to power.

Through CBI investigation, involvements of several TMC leaders are being seen. In fact, three of her party leaders (rank of MLA, MP and Ministers) have been arrested so far. Instead of letting the law to take its own course, Mamata and her party members are crying foul of CBI, Central Govtand even daunting to throw challenge to the country’s Prime Minister.

It is embarrassing that the Chief Minister of Bengal always deputes her finance minister to discuss with Centre. When Chief Ministers of all other states make themselves present in meeting with Central Government, Prime Minister, she prefers to skip such meetings. Personal arrogance of Mamata is so strong, she does not want to follow federal decorum, even does not want to step on shadow of the country’s elected Prime Minister.

Should her own political difference with Central Government be allowed to continue? If the state government wants financial grants and assistances, efforts should be made to maintain cordial relationship – protests, rallies, meetings and using indecent remarks will do no good for Bengal and its developments.

Mousumi Roy
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Mousumi Roy has a Masters (MA - Political Science) from Calcutta University and is a visiting professor of International Relations in Muscat, Oman

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