Apart from severely inconveniencing the people of her own state – the people she is supposed to provide good governance to – the protests that Banerjee has ordered serve no purpose at all.
And they only serve to expose the true and ugly face of the Trinamool once again.
Since Tuesday (3 January ) evening when Lok Sabha MP of Trinamool Congress, Sudip Bandopadhyay, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for his involvement in chit fund scams, his party men have been protesting violently all over the state. These protests, of course, have been ordered by Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee.
The state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters was attacked by Trinamool goons sent there by the party’s leadership on Tuesday evening and some BJP workers were injured. BJP state general secretary Krishna Bhattacharya’s house in Hooghly district adjoining Kolkata was attacked the same evening and she was abused and assaulted. On Wednesday, the BJP office at Durgapur was set on fire and the party office at Chinsurah was vandalised. Trinamool goons also laid siege to Union Minister Babul Supriyo’s apartment (where his aged parents stay) in North Kolkata.
Trinamool hooligans, led by party leaders, blocked roads and highways, brought out traffic choking rallies, squatted on railway tracks (thus delaying movement of trains and causing immense hardship to lakhs of passengers), vandalised at least two railway stations in the state and damaged public property as part of their protests against the arrest of their scam-accused party leaders.
Banerjee has promised more such protests over the next few days. But what exactly is she trying to prove by asking her party men and the hired goons to stage protests and hold the state to ransom? That she is powerful in West Bengal? Of course she is, and everybody knows that without her party having to resort to goondaism to prove it. Are the displays of violent protests meant to send a message to New Delhi that Banerjee and her party men can disrupt normal life and bring Bengal to a standstill? If so, what’s the whole idea behind sending such a message? And does anyone in New Delhi, or for that matter the rest of the country, care if Bengal is brought to a standstill by Banerjee and her goons?
Apart from these protests being pointless, what they also demonstrate is that Banerjee often forgets she is the Chief Minister of a state. Her political default mode is always that of a street-fighting opposition leader. She loves taking to the streets at the drop of a hat. These ongoing protests by her party men would have been relevant had she been in the opposition and the government of the day had done something wrong. But she is the Chief Minister, and the Trinamool rules (or rather, misrules) Bengal. So violent protests by Trinamool leaders, activists, supporters and hired goons within Bengal makes little sense.
Had Banerjee been able to organise protests outside Bengal, it would have been another matter. Her threat of organising mega protest rallies in Delhi, Odisha and Assam is a lot of bombast and outside Bengal (as this article elaborated), Banerjee counts for nothing outside Bengal. Her party only has a marginal presence in Tripura. Thus, despite her 34 Lok Sabha MPs, she cannot claim to be a national entity or her party to be a national party.
Also, the protests against the arrests by CBI have, once again, exposed the ugly face of the Trinamool. That Banerjee relies on hired hoodlums to enforce her writ and harass and intimidate her political opponents has been made evident once again by the attacks on BJP offices and leaders. She has successfully intimidated and beaten the Congress and the CPI(M) in the state through such strong-arm tactics. She thus feels the BJP can also be silenced in this fashion.
A major motive behind staging the protests could have been to intimidate the CBI. Senior Trinamool leaders did, in fact, try to do that after Sudip Bandopadhyay’s arrest on Tuesday evening, when they trooped into the CBI office and laid siege to it, demanding an audience with Bandopadhyay. They would have known very well that there is no law which allows anyone to meet an arrested person. That the Trinamool leaders demanded that they be allowed to meet Bandopadhyay, even as their supporters ganged up outside the CBI office demanding Bandopadhyay’s release, shows what little regard the Trinamool has for the law. But the staged protests throughout Bengal will not have any effect on the progress of the CBI’s investigations into the chit fund scams and will not prevent the CBI from arresting more Trinamool leaders for their involvement in the scams.
Thus, apart from severely inconveniencing the people of her own state – the people she is supposed to provide good governance to – the protests that Banerjee has ordered serve no purpose at all. And they only serve to expose the true and ugly face of the Trinamool once again.