The ongoing spell of violence between the ruling Trinamool Congress and the CPI(M) in West Bengal points to the deteriorating political standards in the State. Political violence is not peculiar to the State but it has, of late, started eroding the much respected cultural and educational leadership of West Bengal.
The State is wasting its energy on the hostilities to the neglect of more substantive issues of governance. Even Presidency University, the symbol of academic excellence and distinct intellectual legacy of West Bengal, has not been spared. Have we really reached the tipping point?
The heckling of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Amit Mitra by the activists of Students Federation of India in New Delhi underscores the high-handedness of the CPI(M)’s student wing (“Descent that never ends,” April 11) .
The manhandling of Mr. Mitra was certainly no way to protest against the death of Sudipta Gupta in police custody in Kolkata.
It is clear from visuals that Mr. Mitra was violently pushed around by SFI cadres. While the incident points to the frustration of the CPI (M)’s frontal organisations, it has also made Ms Banerjee appear a victim and win the public sympathy she was losing. The ugly incident shows that politics is bereft of values and tolerance.
The SFI’s behaviour has shown the CPI (M) in a poor light. The Trinamool Congress’ acts of retribution are equally shameful. That said, one wonders why Ms Banerjee, who was reportedly advised by the police not to get down from her car but drive straight in, chose to walk through the agitators.
While the action of the SFI activists in Delhi is condemnable, it is surprising how a Chief Minister could ignore the advice of the police and expose her Finance Minister to irate protesters. Was not the wilful disregard for protocol and the law-enforcement authority an indication of a sinister design to provoke the protesters?
Ms Banerjee’s stubborn stance is something an elected representative can do without. While the attack on her and her colleague is condemnable, all those who believe in democracy have a duty to request Ms Banerjee to be more patient while holding a public post, especially that of Chief Minister.
The Trinamool Congress should not take the law into its own hands in response to the SFI’s action. A tit-for-tat approach by the ruling party will create havoc.