Parivartan of Mamata For Better Or Worse?
May 13, 2011 is a red-letter day in the history of Bengal since the day marks the beginning of a new era after 34 years of Left misrule in Bengal. The verdict of the people of Bengal established Mamata Banerjee who has been successful in coming up to the expectations of the people only because she stood against Left’s policy and in the process she proved that she is more left than Left Front. She gave the slogan “Maa, Maati, Manush” and urged the people of Bengal to bring about “Parivartan”. People trusted her and gave the verdict in her favour.
The factors which gave Mamata Banerjee this glorious and historic political victory are Singur land acquisition, Nandigram, Maoist factor in Jangalmahal and Gorkhaland. All this means, the only agenda during the assembly election in Bengal in 2011 with which Mamata Banerjee raised the movement was to uproot the misrule of the Left Front government from West Bengal.
Left policies one after another failed and meanwhile Mamata increased her confidence among people and the intelligentsia of the city whose opinion plays a vital role in creating the public opinion among the cultural-loving people of the state. They openly came out against Left and sided with Mamata Banerjee, and urged people to vote for Mamata as the new leader with a vision for Bengal.
After 1977 the Indian National Congress, which lost to the Communist, went into self-exile and therefore in 2001 Mamata came out to form Trinamool Congress which subsequently became powerful and became a threat to the Leftists, who by that time had become overconfident with the support of the people that nobody could dethrone them.
The very term Communist comes from the common man, and after the formation of the Communist government in West Bengal it introduced many reforms for the general masses. Panchayati Raj system was a great hit. The issue of land reforms in Bengal has always been a factor which kept the farming community and general masses attached to the Communists. But the change of power from Jyoti Basu to Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and also at the central-level of the party, i.e. General Secretary of CPIM changed from Harkishan Singh Surjeet to Prakash Karat, played a vital role in the debacle of Left. Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, who is a nephew of a popular Bengali poet Sukanta, is an ardent Communist and not a shrewd politician. No single decision in Bengal could be taken without the permission of central committee, politburo and Prakash Karat and this increased difference of opinion among the Left leaders who always stood united. This internal spat among the Communist also helped Mamata Banerjee strengthen her base among the people. Thereby people’s support base shifted from Communists to Mamata.
She gave the slogan “Maa, Maati and Manush” which itself is a slogan for the common mass and thereby she became more left than the leftist gaining the confidence of the people. She established that she was more with people than the Communists and she came out as a winner as the champion of land reforms policies in Bengal.
Tatas shifted their Nano project from Singur to Gujarat because of Mamata Banerjee’s continuous protest against the Communist government of the state for forceful land acquisition in Singur, which made Tatas believe that in this state of uncertainty nothing was possible, so finally they decided to shift the industry.
This biggest industrial loss to the state brought victory to Mamata. She then gave the slogan “Krishi Amader Bhitti, Shilpo Amader Bhobhisyot” (Agriculture is our foundation and industry our future).
Even she sided with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and urged it to ensure her victory and she would listen to its problems and solve them. The same line she followed in Jangalmahal where she urged everyone to join the mainstream and ensure her victory. Her speech from Lalgarh demanding Maoist leader Azad’s death inquiry while she was a part of the government whose Prime Minister a few days back had declared the Maoist the biggest internal threat also encouraged even Maoists to ensure her victory as they found in her a ray of hope.
Mamata Banerjee by then had matured as a politician and the result was that the Trinamool Congress won general election 2009 with a record margin. It won 19 Lok Sabha seats and became the second-largest partner in UPA-II.
She became Railway Minister of the country again and six of her party MPs were also given cabinet berths. But to concentrate more on Bengal she started her first day in office as Railway Minister in Kolkata and it became a known proverb in the Lok Sabha that Mamata Banerjee was not India’s Railway Minister she was Bengal’s Railway Minister. Even the Railway budget was full of sops for Bengal; this was nothing but to lure the people of Bengal ahead of assembly election of Bengal in 2011.
After a month-long voting in six phases the result was declared and as it was expected Mamata Banerjee won the election with a record margin and the Communist were thrown out of the power. Now the challenge before Mamata Banerjee was to come up to the expectations of the people who trusted her and entrusted her with the responsibility of the state.
Eight months in power, as expected, now the complains against Mamata Banerjee’s government started resurfacing. As promised before election, Mamata tried to solve the Singur issue by giving back the land to the unwilling farmers of Singur after coming to the power. But the issue was kept on a standby the Calcutta High Court after Tatas objected to the decision. On the contrary, she has made it clear to the industrialists that from now on the government will have no role in land acquisition.
Another recent problem which is haunting the government of West Bengal is farmers’ suicide, making Bengal another Vidarbha. In last two months 21 farmers’ suicide in Bengal is becoming an alarming issue, as farmers are not getting the right value for their produce compelling them to commit suicide.
After ensuring Mamata’s victory. Gorkha Janmukti Morcha started raising its issues and thereby the present government formed an autonomous administration under the leadership of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. But again it is not happy with the conditions and time and again it is threatening to declare an indefinite strike if its demand for a separate Gorkhaland is not fulfilled.
After the killing of Maoist leader Kishenji, Mamata Banerjee thought of overcoming the problem, but it is not so in the Maoist-affected districts of Bengal. Development projects are far off. Kishenji, Mamata Banerjee tried to silence the rumour of her party’s close nexus with Maoists as always alleged by Communists.
The educational system too seems at a standstill. In Raiganj and Rampurhat incidents, teachers were beaten up by members of Trinamool Chhatra Parishad, which became a matter of embarrassment for her government. After the Raiganj incident, Trinamool Congress and Congress internal spat came to the forefront as Congress MP from Raiganj Deepa Dasmunshi and Behrampur MP Adhir Chowdhury took command against Mamata Banerjee’s misrule. The Congress also wants to keep Mamata and Trinamool under pressure, as Mamata is doing at the Centre.
Even the intelligentsia is coming up against Mamata Banerjee. Recently, the renowned writer Mahasweta Devi who supported Mamata Banerjee to uproot the Left rule in Bengal declared Mamata Banerjee a ‘Fascist’.
It’ll be wrong to come to any conclusion in just eight months of Mamata Banerjee’s rule in Bengal, but going by the steps she is taking it seems she is reneging on her promises, which again may lead people to lose their faith in her.
By Jaydeep Dasgupta from Kolkata