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Author: Sameer Afzal Ansari, III year of B.A.,LL.B. from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University

A tpolitical tparty tcame tsecond tand tanother tpolitical tparty tcame tfirst tin an telection tin tan tIndian tstate. tNothing tnew tor tnewsworthy there. tOf course, telections tkeep thappening tin tour tvibrant tdemocracy.

But twait, tthat’s tnot tthe tnews. tThe tnews tis tthat tthe tpolitical tparty tthat came tsecond tis thaving tto tset tup thelplines tand tpublicise tits tphone numbers tamong tits tworkers. tDuring ta tpandemic, tone tmight tthink tthat these tare thelplines tfor tCOVID-affected tbut tthey tare tnot. tThese tare helplines tfor tworkers timpacted tby tthe tviolence tunleashed ton tits tparty workers tafter tthe telection tresults twere tannounced.

This tshameful tdevelopment thas thappened tafter tTMC twon tthe telections in tWest tBengal. There tare tfour tother tstates tor tunion tterritories twhere election tresults thave tbeen tannounced tbut tsuch tvendetta tand tvindictive violence thave tnot tbeen treported tfrom tthere.

Kerala tis talso tknown tfor tpolitical tviolence tbut tthings tseem tto tbe peaceful tthere. tAssam tis tseeing tnothing tuntoward tdespite ta thigh-octane election tcampaign. tTamil tNadu tand tPuducherry tare tpeaceful. tBut tit tis only tin tTMC-ruled tBengal tthat thomes tare tbeing tburnt, tBJP tworkers tare being tlynched tand tmobs tare ttaking tover tthe tstreets. tThe tunleashing tof violence tto ttarget tpolitical topponents tthat tacquired ta tnew tlevel tof viciousness tduring tthe t2018 tpanchayat tpolls tcontinues. There twere “intellectuals” twaxing teloquent tabout tthe t“victory tof tfederalism” tand “victory tof tthe tidea tof tIndia” twhen tthe teventual tresults tof tthe tBengal elections twere tannounced. tIt thas tnow tbeen tmade tclear tto tus twhat tit means tfor tthe tcountry.

It tcannot tbe tarticulated tmore tclearly tthat t“federalism” tand t“idea tof India” mean tthat tmobs twill tprowl taround tthe thouses tof tpeople twho tassociate themselves twith tthe tBJP, ta tlegitimate tpolitical tparty tthat thas twon tthe votes tof tcrores tof tpeople. tLofty tjargon tis tjust tintellectual tcover tfor violence ton tthe tstreets tby twhich tthe tliberal telite tof tthe tcountry tseeks tto tighten tits tloosening tgrip tover tthe telectorate.

If tbullying tthe telectorate tis tthe t“idea tof tIndia”, tthen tit tis tan texistential danger tfor tour tdemocracy. If tthis tis twhat tthe tTMC tresorts tto tafter winning, timagine tthe tkind tof tchaos tMamata tBanerjee twould thave unleashed tif tshe thad tlost. tShe twould thave tsurely tput tDonald tTrump and his tsupporters twho tswamped tCapitol tHill tto tshame. In tcontrast, tthe tBJP which tjumped tfrom tnearly tnothing tto t77 tseats tin tBengal, thumbly accepted tthe tverdict tof tthe tpeople. tThey tdid tnot tquestion tthe tEVMs, did not tpoint tfingers tand tneither tdid tthey tallege tany tmalpractice.

While tthe tparty tthat tcame tsecond tis tshowing tgrace, tthe tparty tthat tis forming tthe tgovernment tis tbaring tits tfangs ton tthe tstreets. tMamata Banerjee twas tissuing tveiled tthreats tof t“looking tafter” ther topponents tafter the telections tand ther tlumpen tcadre tare tfollowing tup ton tthem tnow.

This tis ta tlitmus ttest tfor tprincipled tpoliticians tof tall thues. tPolitics texists because tdemocracy tand tfree tchoice texist. tWhen tdemocracy tis tthreatened, if tsomeone tthinks tthey twill tchoose ttactical tsilence tbecause tthey tare tnot at tthe treceiving tend, tthen tthey tmisunderstand tthe tdangers tof tanti-democratic tlumpenism. tOnce tthe tprecedent tis tset, tit twill tnot ttake ttoo much ttime tfor tmobs tto treach tother tdoors. From tthe tmedia tto tthe Governor tof tthe tstate, teveryone tis tappalled tat twhat tis thappening tin Bengal tbut tother tpolitical tparties tare tsilent.

In tany tcase, tnobody texpects tother tparties tof tthe tnational tOpposition tto stand tup tand tsave tdemocracy tin tBengal. tThey tcould thave tsaid tthey have no tstake tin tit tif tthey thad tnot tissued tglowing ttributes tto tMamata Banerjee. tThe tCongress tparty twent tone tstep tahead tand teven tdisowned the tefforts tof ttheir town tBengal tunit. tSo twhat tif ttheir town thouse tis ton fire, tit tmatters tto tthem tthat tBJP tworkers tare tbeing t“taught ta tlesson”. tBut now, tthe tblood tthat tis tbeing tspilt ton tthe tstreets tof tBengal tis ton ttheir hands ttoo, tgiven tthat tthey tidentify tthemselves twith tMamata tBanerjee’s vindictive tpolitics.

At tsuch ttimes, tone tonly thas tto tderive tstrength tfrom tthe tcourage tof tthe common tBJP tworker twho twent tout tto tthe tstreets tto twork tfor ther convictions, tdespite tsuspecting tthat tsuch tviolence twould tbe tunleashed tat her tfor tsimply tperforming ther trole tin tdemocracy.

It tis tto tprotect tthe tsame tworkers tthat tsomething tneeds tto tbe tdone. TMC cadre tand tthe tleaders twho tegg tthem ton tmust tbe tgiven ta tstern tmessage by tany tmeans tpossible. tBecause tthere tare tlives tat tstake. West tBengal cannot tbe tallowed tto tbe trun tlike ta ttinpot tdictatorship where tany tpolitical activism tthat tthe t“Supreme tLeader” tdoes tnot tapprove of twill tbe tmet with violence ton tthe tstreets.


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