Debating India

WEST BENGAL

Out of touch with reality

Monday 4 December 2006

Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had taken a vow that she would set foot in the West Bengal Assembly and the Writers’ Building (the state secretariat) only after removing the Left Front from power. On Thursday, in an effort to reaffirm her stormy petrel image, she stormed into the Assembly and incited her party legislators to go on a rampage.

Ms Banerjee broke her pledge and her MLAs broke valuable public property. Didi presided over the orgy of destruction carried out by her partymen inside the House and the lobby of the Assembly. The Assembly Speaker, Mr Hashim Abdul Halim described Thursday as a " black day." A day when the lawmakers themselves behaved as lawbreakers was indeed a black day. In a masterstroke, the Speaker threw open the gates of the Assembly for the public to see for themselves the destruction wrought by the Trinamul Congress legislators in a bid to expose the true character of the main Opposition party. People queued up to see the vandalism of the public representatives. Their unanimous reaction was: "It is a shame." Ms Banerjee who claims to enjoy enormous public support should do well to pay heed to the people’s opinion. She is clearly out of touch with the prevailing mood in the state, otherwise she would not have gone on a warpath against the state government’s industrial rejuvenation plans. West Bengal has lately emerged as an ideal investment destination where not only Indian, but even

foreign investors are keen to set up industries. By belligerently opposing the industrial drive, Ms Banerjee is painting herself into a corner. After Thursday’s vandalism at the Assembly and Friday’s "Bangla bandh," her party will be branded anti-industry and anti-development. Such an identity is surely a huge liability for any political party. In the last Assembly elections, the Trinamul Congress could win only 30 seats in a 294-seat Assembly - a clear sign of the people’s disillusionment with Ms Banerjee’s style of functioning. She should realise that her brand of street politics has become anachronistic in 21st century West Bengal. If she does not want to be totally isolated from the people, she should immediately shun the path of disruptive and violent politics.

See online : Asian Age

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