West Bengal

Trinamool’s Smear Campaign Against Bengal Governor Is Failing, Should Serve As Reality Check For Mamata Banerjee

Jaideep Mazumdar

May 16, 2024, 01:18 PM | Updated 01:14 PM IST

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor C V Ananda Bose.
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor C V Ananda Bose.
  • Trinamool's unsuccessful smear campaign against the Bengal Governor serves as a stark reality check for Mamata Banerjee.
  • Stung by the ‘shame of Sandeshkhali’ and desperate to turn the tables on the BJP which has made the alleged crimes against women there by Trinamool Congress netas into a hot button issue, Mamata Banerjee and her party have latched on to allegations of molestation hurled by two women against Bengal Governor C V Ananda Bose. 

    Bose has been a vocal critic of the Trinamool and has slammed the ruling party in Bengal for its scams and misdeeds on many occasions, thus earning Banerjee’s ire. She has frequently labelled Bose a ‘BJP agent’ who had “converted the Raj Bhavan into a BJP party office”. 

    Thus, when two women — the first a contractual employee of the Raj Bhavan and the second an Odissi dancer — levelled allegations of molestation against Bose in quick succession, Banerjee and her party were quick to latch on to those. They found the allegations against Bose a convenient stick to beat the BJP with. 

    Unfortunately for Banerjee and her party, the charges against Bose are being viewed with a lot of scepticism. Primarily because of the timing of the allegations, surfacing as they did in the middle of the poll season. 

    The Odissi dancer filed a police complaint in October last year alleging that Governor Bose sexually abused her 10 months earlier in January 2023. Why she waited 10 months to file the complaint, and how that complaint has surfaced now after seven months has raised many eyebrows. 

    Earlier this month, a female staffer of the Raj Bhavan alleged that Governor Bose molested her on 24 April and attempted to repeat the act on 2 May, a day everyone in the Raj Bhawan was busy making arrangements for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stay at the gubernatorial mansion that night. 

    Governor Bose, while rejecting the allegations, claimed he had information that more such allegations against him could surface before polling in the state draws to a close in the seventh phase on 1 June. 

    Significantly, Banerjee provided confirmation of that when she announced at a poll rally on 11 May that one more “kelenkari” (Bengali for scandal) against the Governor would surface soon. 

    Banerjee’s indiscreet announcement on 11 May completely robbed the allegations against Bose of all credibility. It became clear that the allegations against the Governor were being made public for political gains in the election season. 

    The Bengal Chief Minister also attempted a smear job on Prime Minister Modi when she questioned how the latter could have spent the night (May 2) at the Raj Bhawan in Kolkata where an attempted molestation had allegedly occurred a few hours before he landed at Kolkata. 

    There were no buyers for Banerjee’s criticism of Prime Minister Modi for the simple reason that the Raj Bhavan staffer complained to the police only on 3 May. Modi had no way of knowing what had allegedly transpired at the Raj Bhavan before he stepped into the 220-year-old mansion. 

    There’s another strong reason why the allegations against Governor Bose have been met with a lot of incredulity. Bose assumed charge as the Governor in November 2022 and this is the first time that such charges are being levelled against him. 

    The Governorship of Bengal is also not the first position of authority that Bose has held. An IAS officer of repute (he retired from service in 2011), he has held many important posts in Kerala as well as the Centre. 

    Such allegations had never been levelled against him in the past. Instead, he boasts of a stellar career spanning decades during which he has received many accolades and awards for his pioneering work in various fields. 

    As former Meghalaya Governor and senior BJP leader Tathagata Roy explains, a man guilty of sex crimes would always have a long history of such crimes. More so when the man has occupied important posts for almost all his adult life. 

    Roy’s surmise is attested by experts on crimes against women.

    “A sex predator would have a lifelong history of sex crimes, and if he has been in a position of power for a long time, there will be a long history of such crimes,” said Malini Roy, a prominent activist who works with victims of sex abuse. 

    But Governor Bose’s record is clean and he has earned praise from the CPI(M) government in Kerala as well as former prime minister Manmohan Singh. Bose is the recipient of 33 prestigious national and global awards. 

    That is why the allegations against Governor Bose have been met with disbelief by the people of Bengal. 

    There’s also a powerful reason behind the people’s deep distrust of the allegations against Governor Bose. And that’s because these allegations are being fanned by Banerjee and her party. 

    The popular perception about the Trinamool Congress is that it is a deeply corrupt party populated by immoral functionaries who are accused of many misdeeds, including heinous crimes against women. 

    The people of Bengal have, for the past 13 years, been suffering and paying the price for the Trinamool’s scams and misdeeds. Thus, there are few takers for such allegations levelled by Banerjee and her party colleagues against Governor Bose. 

    “Why would anyone believe a party that is so corrupt, whose leaders have been caught red-handed for their deep involvement in so many scams, and whose functionaries are accused of grave crimes against women?” asked Leader of Opposition and senior BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari. 

    He added that the disbelief among the people of Bengal about the allegations against the Governor should serve as a reality check for Banerjee.

    “Public disbelief over the allegations by Mamata Banerjee is a reflection of her own loss of credibility. No one believes her anymore. She has lost all credibility,” said state BJP president Sukanta Majumdar. 

    Banerjee’s lack of credibility, say political observers, is also reflected in media coverage of the allegations against the Governor.

    Only some Bengali newspapers and news channels, and a national daily’s Kolkata edition, which is widely-known to be pro-Trinamool, have given ample space to the allegations against Governor Bose and Banerjee’s repetition of those allegations at election rallies. 

    All this should serve as a reality check for Mamata Banerjee, say politicians belonging to all opposition parties. And, said Adhikari, it will reflect in the results of the ongoing elections. 

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