Saffron resurge in West Bengal after 61 years.


By: Vrishaketu

Some 28 years before Sri Bal Gangadhar Tilak started Shivaji Utsav in Maharashtra, 17 years before the birth of Vinayakrao Damodar Savarkar and 27 years before Vivekananda’s ‘Shankhanad’ in the Parliament of Religions at Chicago a Bengali Hindu by the name of Nabagopal Mitra sowed the seeds of Hindu revival & Hindu nationalism through Hindu Melas all over Bengal. But sadly when others followed him and achieved great success in their respective provinces this Hindutva movement after its glorious start during the Freedom movement gradually started to loose political space post independence in Bengal (now West Bengal). The last veil in this body was laid after the sudden demise of Dr. Syamaprasad Mookherjee on June 23rd 1953. The Bengali mind fell pray to Communist propaganda and was hypnotised by the mirage of a notional classless society. Shuttling between the Gandhian & Communist politics the Nationalist voice slowly got scoffed in-between. This year after 61years since the demise of Dr. Syamaprasad Mookherjee, Bengal is again rising for the Nationalist cause. The Bengali is flocking the meetings and procession of Nationalist BJP. Added with this is the super MODI wave existing amongst the Hindi speaking and other non-Bengali communities, who are a major force in as many as 12 to 13 constituencies amongst the 42 constituencies in West Bengal.

But how did this transformation happened overnight? The hyper doses of doles to the muslim community which at many instances even superseded the saria-ruled islamic nations like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan was the first to disbalance the high moral podium of the secular Bengali. Free bicycles for muslims-only girl-child in rural Bengal, monthly stipends for imams and muazzims, muslims-only hospitals. The doles got bizarre to such an extent that a fringe muslim group demanded muslims-only public urinals in different cities, malls and offices. These announcements emboldened the minority jihadi segment amongst the muslims and they started implementing major anti-Hindu & anti-secular agenda in their areas of influence. A secular anti-jihadi voice like that of Taslima Nasrin was chased out of the state. In September 2010 at a place called Deganga, a muslim mob led by the local TMC MP Haji Nurul Islam attacked Hindu houses and business establishment. The one sided looting continued without any resistance from the Hindu community until the arrival of the army. These two incident occurred during the CPM regime but due to the total blackout by the Bengali media and criminal silence of the otherwise vocal Bengali intelligentsia didn’t let the general Bengali an opportunity to gauge the thinks to come. After Mamta and her TMC assumed power riots became a daily affair in Bengal along with a flood of rapes and molestation incidents. Barring smaller ones, major communal violence took place at Naliakhali in Canning, Sandeshkhali, Panchla in Howrah, Asansol and Midnapore town. On 7th June 2013 a Hindu college girl was gang-raped by 5 muslim men at a place called Kamduni just outside Kolkata. After raping her, the perpetrators tore apart her legs up to the navel, slit her throat and dumped her body into a nearby field. The woman CM didn’t bothered to even visit the family of the victim for 9 long days. It was only after much criticism and the prospect of RSS Swayamsevaks taking out a huge protest rally from College Street to the heart of Kolkata, Syambazar five-point Crossing that the CM finally relented. Here again the insensitive CM misbehaved with the local women folks in Kamduni who went to meet her. But in all this the BJP with its weak organisation in the state and no representation in the state assembly was no where to rip the dividend. The only factor going positive for the party was three prone, the massive anti-incumbency of the ruling Congress in Delhi, mal-governance and over appeasement of the muslims by the ruling TMC in the state and the total disenchantment with the erstwhile left-front led by CPM. The MODI wave entered the state much later and here the BJP played its cards really well. Though the MODI wave was acting as an under-current in urban centres but West Bengal is primarily rural.

The first ace came the party’s way when it held a super successful public meeting for its Prim-ministerial hopeful Sri Narendra Modi on February 5th this year. The rally was organised at the historic Brigade Parade Ground at the heart of Kolkata. This is giant ground where major parties in the state holds meetings to demonstrate their respective political might. This ground can accommodate some 8-10 lakh people according to different estimates. Prior to BJP’s rally the ruling TMC demonstrated its political mussel by holding a highly successful meet. They claimed an attendance of over 10lakh people. BJP with no MLA or Jilla Parisad in the state galvanised some 5-6 lakh people at its meet. This rejuvenated both the party leadership and the general workers to a great level. As per admission by senior party leaders some 2 lakh ordinary people attended this meeting which was not mobilised by the party. This fact demonstrated before the top party leadership that the party has a real chance in Bengal this time. It is said that Modiji was so pleased with the turnout that he started taking special interest for the state which like many of his colleagues was absent earlier. The second ace the party played was with its selection of candidates. Leading luminaries from the Bengali society were given tickets and with it the party demonstrated its acceptability amongst the intelligentsia driven Bengali society. Along with Bangla film-star like Joy Banerjee, Nimu Bhowmick and National icons like PC Sorcar, Bappi lahiri and Babul Supriya, BJP outshined many of its opponents. Many eminent retired IAS, IPS and Bureaucrats has also joined the party this time. Many amongst them like ex-DGP RK Handa & senior ex-IPS RK Mohanty has been fighting election from Barrackpore and Ulberia respectively. The party has also successfully ducked the national trend of nominating minority candidates in constituencies with a sizeable minority vote. It is said that in-spite of tremendous pressure from its central leadership for the same, that party’s State President stood rock-solid in his position of not nominating any minority candidate from any constituency with a sizeable minority vote. This ensured counter block voting by the majority community in these constituencies. Though the party has nominated minority candidates from constituencies like Ghatal, Tamluk and Darjeeling. The third ace for the party is its seat sharing arrangements with GJM (Gorkha Janmukti Morcha) and KPP (Kamtapur People’s Party) in north Bengal with a sizeable Gorkha and Kampapuri population. All this three aces along with a commensurating effort from Narendra Modi and other central leaders is expected to throw a surprising result for the BJP in Bengal. Modiji campaigned in the state on last Sunday and is poised for 2-3 more visits. The seats to look out for are, Asansol – Babul Supriya, Kolkata North – Rahul Sinha, Srirampur – Bappi Lahiri, Barasat – PC Sorcar, Dum Dum – Tapan Sikdar, Basirhat – Samik Bhattacharya, Kolkata South – Tathagata Roy, Bankura – Dr. Subhas Sarkar, Krishnanagar – Satyabrata Mukherjee, Alipurduar – Birender Bara, Darjeeling – SS Ahluwalia, Barrackpore – RK handa, Balurghat – Bishwapriya Roychowdhury.

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