Bengal is one of the most violent states in India when it comes to politics. According to National Crime Bureau, most number of deaths due to political violence in entire nation has been from Bengal since many years. It all started with rise of Communists in the state. A fraction of Communists who were influenced with Mao of China started their violent movement from Naxalbari. This violent insurgent group is also known as Maoists and Naxalites, named after their inspiration and place of origin respectively. Due to their violent acts, Maoists were banned by the Indian Government however the other communists were allowed to function politically.
With the rise of communist group’s following Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin, violence got into the blood of Bengal politics for decades until Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Banerjee removed them from power after over 34 years of rule in 2011. Before Trinamool Congress, fight was mostly between Congress and Communists. Mamata, who was a member of Congress party, defunct the same and started a separate party and went on to dethrone the Communists from power. What followed was the violent communist cadre whom Mamata fought for year’s joined Trinamool in large numbers. This led them continue with their operation in the similar format, under the guise of new political party.
In year 2016, arch rivals Congress and Communists unsuccessfully fought together to defeat Mamata. Followers of Congress and Communists who felt deserted after seeing their arch rivals joining hands left their respective parties and joined Mamata’s Trinamool in large numbers. After this, Mamata started looking for national politics. She took her party into the old tested formula of her old party congress which was to appease Minority with special reference to Muslims. Appointing Urdu faculties instead of Bengali to stopping Durga Puja during Muharram, she did everything to appease Muslims. Once called Mamata Didi, she was started being referred to as Mamata Bano. With great ambition come bigger challenges. Her actions were challenged by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). BJP didn’t have much of it’s cadre in Bengal but with it’s mass presence in other Hindi speaking states and wave of PM Narendra Modi, it started to prepare for 2021 elections.
BJP opposed Mamata on each and every move however kept focus mostly on her Muslim appeasement. It went on to such an extent that Mamata started putting people in jail for chanting Jai Shri Ram slogan, often used by BJP in their temple run for Ram Janmabhoomi. With elections coming close, many from TMC switched sides, leaving their party to join BJP finding better opportunity there. TMC, which hired Prashant Kishore to dictate and direct their electoral strategy, tried everything to downplay the defections and take on soft Hindutva position. Soft Hindutva of Prashant Kishore included Mamata going to temples, her Muslim parliamentarian marrying a Hindu and putting sindoor openly, chatting Jai Durga Mata, etc.
Elections happened in Bengal during Covid times in 8 rounds. To secure the electoral procedure, Election Commission also took help of CRPF & para-military to maintain law and order.After the results, Mamata was again declared winner. However, there were two take away. Firstly, BJP won 71 seats and came second for the first time in Bengal state elections. Secondly, Mamata Banerjee lost her high profile seat from Nandigram against her old colleague Suvendu Adhikari who joined BJP right before elections. These two things led to a massive dissatisfaction with Mamata, her party TMC and its cadre. In contrary to election procedure which was mostly peaceful, therestarted a mass level violence in places and constituencies which voted against TMC or where TMC lost. Goons of TMC started attacking the volunteers of BJP, their family members and offices of BJP. Initially, Congress and Communists didn’t comment on it but were forced to speak when their own offices were burned and damaged by the goons of TMC. These goons attacked everyone who didn’t vote for them or promoted parties other than them by assaulting men and women, raping girls, gang raping women, burning houses, etc. These attacks were more significant against Hindu community and BJP supporters since Hindu community voted majorly for BJP during this state election. Many people had to flee from Bengal to neighbouring state Assam during the said violence so to save their lives.
Read Part 2 here