• SUBHODIP CHATTERJEE

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: IS WEST BENGAL WITNESSING A CULTURAL CHANGE ALONG WITH POLITICAL CHANGE!

The Year of 2021 is probably the Most important year after 2011 in the politics of West Bengal. In Assembly election of 2011 Communist Party of India ( Marxist) led Left front faced a defeat against All India Trinamool Congress Which ended 34 years of Left rule in the state. The left rule in West Bengal may be the Longest serving democratically elected Communist party led coalition rule in any country or state. In this three decades Left front achieved many things Specially the empowerment of poor farmers and Agricultural workers by Operation Barga which distributed land between them. Left established one of the strongest Panchayati Raj system in the country. During its rule every year recruitment of School Teachers and College educators continued. Government owned corporations established Industries in Bakreshwar, Sagardighi, and many other places. But after the collapse of soviet union and eastern European countries when World moved towards Liberalization the private sector in many countries grew very fast in West Bengal Private investment was much slower than other states in India. But in 2005-2006 many investors came to the state but then Land Movement of Singur and Nandigram happened. Specially Singur was beneficial for political prospect of Trinamool and Mamata banerjee but not for the state. It is the reason why very few investment came during the last ten years of TMC rule. But the most important achievement of communist’s in West Bengal is Very few communal riots and communal violence. Building brotherly relation between Hindu Muslim communities in the state. Not only that Bengal has one of the least Caste based oppression and caste divide in the country. Bengal politics was always about Class more than Caste and Religious identity. But if you think more intensively Bengal suffered partition effect of which is still felt in the cultural, social arena of West Bengal. And the founder of Jana sangh Shyamaprasad Mukherjee came from Bengal. And it is a border state with Previously East Pakistan Now Bangladesh. So Hindutva ideology had a natural base in West Bengal but Hindutva forces cannot take advantage of it because of organized left forces and there iron like determination to resist it.



But after 2011 there is a dynamical shift in Bengal politics which set the perfect material condition for the Right Wing BJP in the state to not only increase it’s support base but also become the most powerful political ideology in Bengal. In post Singur Nandigram phase the influence of electronic media increased massively in Bengal and which I think is the most detrimental reason of it. When the media analysed politics it marked identity to a section of Voters. Minority Majority terms were used. Many works has been done for the muslim minority in the state Like implementation of Ranganath Mishra commission report and allocationg more budget to Madrasa education etc but due to Rapid increase of population in Bengal and many other reason a major section of muslims remained under the line of proverty. Which was mentioned in Sachar committee report. When TMC came into power they wanted the full support of minority community. To get this they started doing things that left can’t do because of their ideological position. The organized IFTAR parties during Ramadan. Chief minister Mamata banerjee attended different Iftar party with traditional Islamic costume. Mamata banerjee herself attended Namaz on Red road every year. Imam was started getting monthly allowance. This made a large portion of hindu electorate unhappy. TMC faced many corruption allegation Sarada chitfund scam to Narada sting operation though many prime accuse joined BJP . Elections Rigging happened in Municipal to Panchayat election in west bengal. In 2018 Panchayat election opposition candidates could not even file nomination. Opposition alleged of Threat & violence in this elections.


In 2014 with the large scale disenchantment against the Congress led UPA government Narendra Modi came to power with the promise of Economic Development. In this election BJP which got 4% of vote in 2011 got 17% vote. That was the first Big footprint of the saffron party Post 2001. BJP & RSS was not late to make use of the material condition that was getting more value. They started Ram Navami rally every year. And TMC government cannot stop communal riots in Malda and Basirhat from happening. Due to large scale polarization of vote between Left- Congress alliance and TMC in 2016 election which could not resist TMC from coming to power again BJP still got 10% of vote. And they continued their agenda. Left after 34 years in ruling was not playing the opposition role as they could have done. So in politics nothing stay in vaccume BJP with their own agenda occupied the opposition space in the state. Many top TMC leaders like Mukul roy left the party and joined BJP. Which also helped organization of BJP to grow in the state. Culmination of all BJP got massive 18 seats and more than 40% vote share in 2019 loksabha elections in West Bengal.


After the joining of leaders like Suvendu Adhikari many political observers say BJP is knocking the doors of state government which will not only be a political change for the state bu also it will initiate a social cultural change in the state in the near future.