oppn parties BJP Protest: Not The Way To Fight TMC

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BJP Protest: Not The Way To Fight TMC

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
West Bengal is witnessing protests against the Trinamool government led by Mamata Banerjee. In quick succession, first the largely discredited and unseen Left took to the streets to protest against deteriorating law and order in the state. What could have been a peaceful and inconsequential protest was given huge prominence by the administration as the police chose to attack media persons covering the event. Reporters and cameramen were beaten and equipment damaged. This was a huge blot on the ruling government.

In fact, it prompted BJP to respond by saying that since it was becoming a threat to the TMC, the party was trying to revive the Left (who, according to the BJP, poses a lesser threat to the government) in order to control the emergence of the saffron party in the state. The BJP itself took to the streets just three days later, gheraoing the Kolkata police headquarters in the busy Lalbazar area on a working day. It played a cat and mouse game with the police, resulting in arson and violence.

Both the Left and the BJP are choosing the wrong way to protest against the TMC. The party is the most street smart among the three. It has a history of agitating when the Left was in power and knows all the tricks of the trade. If they wish to usurp the TMCÂ’s hold on power, they have to employ a two-prong strategy. One, they have to strengthen their party infrastructure, right down to the village level, which for the BJP is simply non-existent. The Left used to have a dominating presence in the villages but with the loss of power, most of its men and offices have gone the Trinamool way. It too has to rebuild from the existing scarce resources. The BJP, on the other hand, will have to fight tooth and nail to establish its presence in most rural areas in Bengal.

Two, both the Left and the BJP have to go to the people. Such is the hold of the ruling party in rural Bengal that either due to threats or due to inducements, the people quietly vote for it even if they do not like to. This is made possible by both muscle power and distribution of largesse. This stranglehold needs to be broken. It is not an easy task simply because both parties do not have a leader to match the charisma of Mamata Banerjee. As of now, they can simply hope to make small dents in the TMC edifice and wait for Mamata to make a major mistake. In the meantime, they should advertise for someone charismatic to lead their onslaught against didi. For neither Surya Kanta Mishra of the Left not the likes of actors Rupa Ganguly or Locket Chatterjee from the BJP can ever hope to lead their respective parties to victory against Mamata.