Not surprisingly, I know a whole bunch of Bengalis. Again, not surprisingly, this means I know a lot of people with a deep and pathological hatred of Hindus. More than once have I been told that Durgapuja should be banned because it causes traffic problems. Incidentally, the same people on my Facebook timeline couldn’t sleep for a week when Burkinis were banned in beaches of distant France. I have learned a lot from these people, foremost among them being the fact that working for multi-billion dollar corporations by day and preaching Communism by night is a great way to pay tribute to the idea of India.
But these days, such people are anxious and irritated. They shake their heads and complain about Mamata Banerjee. Not because she gave the final touches to Bengal’s ruin after the Commies had done their part for 35 years. They don’t care. They found themselves a better future in free capitalist societies outside Bengal long ago. No, they are angry because Mamata Banerjee is handing Bengal to BJP on a platter.
At its heart, Communism is a religion. So, while the Commies ruled Bengal, they would go only so far to appease Islam which after all is a rival religion. All this changed when Mamata Banerjee came to power. She turned the state government into an openly Islamist entity, distributing lalbatti cars to Muslim religion leaders, paying salaries to Imams and Muezzins, allowing Islamic leaders to control the countryside by means of mobs.
One member of my family (a certified communist who jumped for joy when BJP lost Bihar) recently came back from our ancestral village in Bengal. His report : this year the local peaceful community put up loudspeakers to abuse the baby Krishna on Janamashthami. There has been no violence yet in our village, but no one quite knows what’s coming next. They are not quite sure if they should risk celebrating Janamashthami again this year. Story of terrified Hindus in rural Bengal.
At it’s heart, Bengal is a deeply “communal” state. It was the 1905 partition of Bengal that gave the greatest impetus to the two nation theory. It is through the “Great Calcutta killing” that the Muslim League showed its might on “Direct Action Day”. This is where the absolute worst riots happened during independence. And it is also where RSS founder Hedgewar learned his politics, as a student at National Medical College in Calcutta. Not to mention that Bengalis were never particularly taken by the soft, weak-willed and feel good secularism of Gandhi and Nehru. Maybe it had something to do with Subhas Bose but Gandhi is openly mocked in Bengal all the time. Modi ji should not release in Bengal those pictures of himself with thread and a charkha… will backfire big time.
The Communists ruled over Bengal with an iron hand much like the British did, keeping the communal cauldron from boiling over. But beneath the heavy lid, it was always boiling, in fact it was boiling much hotter than traditional Hindutva states like UP or even Gujarat.
Once Mamata Banerjee took over, the pressure cooker was opened. From Malda to Dhulagar, the M terror was given a free run. From smartphone to smartphone, videos of Muslim cruelty are doing the rounds of the state. This is the latest in the government’s insanity.
But I am here to tell you that it’s not all gloom and doom. The M terror in Bengal is so blatant and the government sides with Muslims so openly that the narrative is going completely in BJP’s favor. Here is the position of the 294 member West Bengal Assembly as of today:
But Mamata Banerjee has handpicked the BJP as her principal opposition. And the BJP couldn’t be happier about this. The TMC’s incessant attacks on the BJP are allowing the party to punch far above its electoral weight in Bengal. In Congress and in CPI(M), those who are opposed to TMC but are frustrated by the weakness of their own parties are joining RSS and BJP in droves.
It is not like Mamata Banerjee does not understand this. But look at her incentives. The TMC, the CPIM and the Congress are all “povertarian” parties, with no real brand distinction. Mamata Banerjee uprooted the left by going further to the left of the left 🙂 Tomorrow, the left might go even more to her left and blindside her. The povertarian vote can move seamlessly between CPI(M), Congress and Trinamool. For Mamata Banerjee, this is hardly a comforting thought.
But the BJP is different. Entry of the BJP into Bengal gives her a clear cut brand distinction. The ~30% M vote in Bengal is not going to float towards BJP. Presence of BJP helps Mamata consolidate her own votes. That’s why BJP is her favorite opposition. And that benefits BJP too. Right now, the two parties are feeding off each other.
The other thing Mamata has in mind is that she wants to be Prime Minister. This puts her on a direct collision course with BJP.
Now for my personal judgement : even though the two parties are feeding off each other, I feel this benefits BJP much more than it suits TMC. For one, BJP starts from ZERO in Bengal. So everything is a gain. TMC on the other hand is maxed out in Bengal, they can only defend, there is literally nothing left for them to conquer.
Secondly, what are the chances that Mamata will successfully unseat Prime Minister Modi? Maybe 5% and likely even less. But what are the chances that Mamata targetting BJP will make the BJP the principal opposition in Bengal? More like 95%!
There is a reason my secular Bengali friends are so irritated these days.