Political rallies in Bengal were devoid of any masks or social distancing.
Forget about the discussion about Corona cases, action was taken by the election commission only after the sixth phase. Visuals from Bengal show that from Home Minister to ordinary people, leaders and even the police and guards in charge of security were not wearing masks. What we have to remember that when the election campaign began in Bengal earlier in March, the state reported only 171 Corona Cases on March 2 but at this point in time, a fresh spike is yet again in the state capital of Kolkata and the situation is becoming more dangerous in Bengal.
But as the election commission is allowing elections with results on 2nd May, let us concentrate on politics because it appears that for this country, elections and power is more important than anything including the life of an individual.
As far as Bengal is concerned, it is important to recall two important periods. First, when history was created by Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, defeating and ending the 34-year reign of the Left in West Bengal in 2011, and second is when
PM Narendra Modi-led party got a massive 18 seats from the state in 2019 elections and BJP made stunning inroads in Trinamool Congress-ruled state, showing a virtual saffron sweep in the state’s northern parts, and also the western tribal heartland. For the very first time, the state saw this kind of result.
Now, Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will get more than 200 seats in the ongoing assembly elections in West Bengal owing to the BJP wave in the state and Home Minister Amit Shah is also claiming that BJP will easily win over 200 seats in West Bengal.
Countering BJP’s claim of winning in more than 200 seats out of 294 in the West Bengal’s Assembly elections, CM Mamata Banerjee challenged the BJP to first win 30 seats in the state and then dream about winning 294.
According to the 2011 Census, West Bengal had over 24.6 million Bengali Muslims, who formed 27.01 percent of the population of the state. There is no doubt that the Muslim vote bank is the bigger and a deciding factor in Bengal polls as for almost three-and-a-half decades, the Muslims were wooed and considered a vote bank by the Left Front, which ruled the state for 34 years running.
After the entrance of the BJP in Bengal, the polarization in Bengal is quite obvious. The BJP has rotated its strike against the TMC on issues like cow smuggling, Durga Puja processions, Saraswati Puja, chants of Jai Shri Ram, etc.! We can see the same from election rallies and the way BJP is setting the agenda for elections. It is not wrong to say that its committed election campaigning gave the desired results in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
On the other side, TMC is also doing Muslim appeasement and the much-publicized appeasement policy includes remunerations to imams and muezzins or prayer callers by the State Auqaf Board (stipends for imams), hosting of allegedly expensive Iftar parties by the government, and extensive temporary residential arrangements for Hajis in the state capital.
Polarization and appeasement is not a new thing in politics but it is becoming a trend and center of attraction nowadays especially after 2014 elections results as politicians are setting their political agenda according to their vote bank. Parties are targeting directly Hindus, Muslims, and other’s voters at the time of elections rather than setting agenda about literacy, unemployment, development, and other relevant issues.
Political parties, for their votes and politics, creating some kind of fear and apprehension in the mind of voters in the name of religion, ideology, and beliefs, and because of this, we can see the division in society. Division of thoughts is appreciable but the way society is getting divided and the way a radical environment is developing, is dangerous for our society. No one will achieve anything the way we are moving and the clear division will increase the bridge and it will become impossible to fill that gap in the future.
As the Muslim voters are deciding factor in Bengal, Two prominent leaders assuring the Muslim identity i.e. Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui, the preacher from the influential Furfura Darbar Sharif in Hooghly district, and Asaduddin Owaisi, AIMIM Leader and Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad. In case, Siddiqui and Owaisi manage to snatch away Muslim votes from the TMC, the BJP might just have the last laugh but who will get a majority, for that we have to wait till 2nd May.
But believe me; whoever will Bengal on 2nd May, this division between societies is not welcome and is dangerous for our society so it’s upon us to take responsibility to ask the political parties to change their agenda. We will become strong if we will unite and defeat the principle of Divide and Rule of Political parties, all political parties.