TMC's politics of surrealism in West Bengal

In her address while inaugurating the prestigious and highly popular Kolkata Book Fair sometime in the end of January this year, Mamata Banerjee made a very interesting as well startling observation, an observation which was symbolic of the confused and on the brink state of political affairs in the state of West Bengal and in her own party the Trinamool Congress.

Displaying a literary flourish of the kind one would naturally expect an author of over thirty "books" to have, Mamata told her largely book-loving audience that Shakespeare was loved by the children and that when Rabindranath Tagore went to London to compose the Gitanjali he had a very good and close relation with the era of Shakespeare and Keats - implying perhaps that the poet laureate of Bengal had a close partnership with these two defining English poets who had actually lived centuries apart and earlier.

In fact, this is the kind of surrealism that has increasingly characterised Bengal's politics in the last few months, creating a state reminiscent of Satyajit Ray's 1980 classic "In the Land of the Diamond King" where the Diamond King (Hirok Raja) a tyrant, having robbed the people of their riches and land, rules his kingdom with an iron hand, concocting stories and theories to keep his subjects tied down while they starve and suffer. Those who dared protest against the King were taken to the "brainwashing chamber" interestingly named "Jantarmantar", manned by a magician whom the king addressed as "Gyanoratna" (Gem of Wisdom), in order to be intellectually liquidated. The King's ministers were of course puppets silently doing his bidding until new entrants and a revolution altered the status quo. Hirok Raja's kingdom was a state of suppressed anarchy - if such a term could ever be explained

What Mamata actually meant can only perhaps be dissected, interpreted and dished out by the likes of Derek O’Brien, himself well-versed in the multiple eras of English literature and now Mamata’s very articulate and energetic trouble-shooter and interpreter of her political philosophy to the larger world.  But West Bengal and it politics under Mamata Banerjee is indeed fast turning into a present day version of the land of the Diamond Queen.

For those not attuned to the political lexicon and flavour of Bengal it is indeed difficult to absorb the full portent of the developments. It would be interesting to look at some of these innovative political developments. Can one imagine, for example,  a situation where leading members of the ruling party have cheated their own people, i.e. their own voters of their hard-earned savings and have used it to fashion and promote their brand of politics and their concept of self-welfare?

Like the Comrades did, much through the eighties and nineties of the last century, creating and propping up a powerful crony-capitalist-builders-politician lobby as a buffer between them and the dumb proletariat that they professed to represent, the Trinamool Congress, under Mamata Banerjee, has also supported and grafted a powerful crony-capitalist-chit-fund-builders lobby as a fence between itself and the million voiceless representatives of ma-mati-manush that they professed to give voice and rights to.

As the sham of that promise gradually unfurls under the pressure of central investigative agencies, allowed, perhaps for the first time, to do their duty unhampered, the Trinamool Congress itself is facing its worst crisis and unraveling, a crisis which may very well end with the dissolution of the Party itself.

Can one imagine a political party which has one of its senior Ministers and organisers - one who has closely worked with the State's Chief Minister in building her party - in jail charged with cheating the poor and yet in detention is provided five star facilities, denied to others and to those whom he cheated?  Madan Mitra, the State's sports and Youth Affairs Minister and Mamata's close confidante is showered with petals by Trinamool lumpens every time he enters the Court premises. Ironically, of late, Madan, has often compared himself to Gandhi and Bose who also went to jail, he argues, for peoples’ welfare.

Can one imagine a political party whose candidate for an Assembly segment by-election meets the Opposing candidate and earnestly wishes his victory for the good of the State? If reports are to be believed such a thing has indeed just happened with the Trinamool Congress candidate from Krishnaganj in Nadia, Sunayna Biswas, daughter of the late Trinamool MLA Sushil Biswas, meeting the Opposing BJP candidate and wishing him victory for the sake of the State.

Courtesy Niti Central



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