October 11, 2015

West Bengal: War on the People

THERE was an all-out assault on democracy when elections to the Bidhannagar municipal corporation, the Greater Asansol corporation and the Bali corporation were held on October 3.  Trinamul Congress gangs led by its leaders indulged in booth capturing and false voting.  The elections in Salt Lake under the Bidhannagar  corporation were completely falsified with fake voters being deployed from outside, attacks on genuine voters who tried to vote and assaults on journalists who sought to cover the rigging of the elections.  The fact that 13 journalists were injured here shows the ferocity with which media coverage was sought to be suppressed.  Similar scenes were witnessed of masked men hurling bombs assaulting opposition candidates and capturing booths in the Asansol election. The police and the administrative machinery went along with this farcical exercise and connived with the Trinamul leaders who orchestrated these attacks. 


Given the overwhelming evidence of the rigging and violence in the elections, the state election commissioner, S R Upadhyay, announced the postponement of the counting which was scheduled to be held on October 7.  But within hours of this announcement, faced with the threats issued by the TMC government and a dharna held by TMC leaders, including ministers, outside his office, the election commissioner announced that there would be re-polling in some booths on October 8 followed by counting on October 9.  Following this capitulation, Upadhyay submitted his resignation.  This is a glaring example of how institutions and the official machinery is subverted by the TMC.


The semi-fascist methods adopted by the TMC to hijack the elections reveal a growing anxiety and realisation that popular support for the TMC regime is ebbing. Along with these municipal corporation elections, the three tier Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad elections were also held.  These elections were held peacefully as the TMC could not rig the polls due to popular unity and resistance. The results show the real mood of the people.  The Left Front has won the elections in all the three tiers.  Of the nine seats in the Mahakuma Parishad, the Left Front has won six out of nine.


The election results for the three municipal corporations will prove to be a pyrrhic victory for the TMC. By declaring war on the people to “win” these elections, it has exposed its true face to the people.