oppn parties Violence In Kolkata Road Show: Whodunit?

News Snippets

  • Mediators tell the protestors in Shaheen Bagh that the Supreme Court will listen to them more keenly if they remove the roadblock and move to an alternate site
  • No headway by mediators in the Shaheen Bagh imbroglio. Protestors say adjoining roads are running fine.
  • After China objects to Home Minister Amit Shah's Arunachal visit, India says China has no business to comment on the issue as the state is an integral part of India
  • The OBC "creamy layer" to be changed by including salary as part of the income that will decide the threshold. This will lead to many more getting left out
  • RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat says the word "nationalism" should not be used now as it has acquired negative connotations
  • UP Sunni Central Wakf Board accepts the 5-acre plot given by the government to rebuild the Babri masjid as per the terms of the Supreme Court order
  • Two dalits thrashed and abused in Rajasthan's Nagaur. Police arrest 7 persons
  • Supreme Court rejects curative petition in the Uphaar cinema fire case in Delhi and says there will be no further jail terms for the owners, the Ansal brothers
  • Government data placed in Parliament shows a sharp decline in job creation under its flagship employment generation schemes
  • The government is working to amend the Aadhar Act to make it possible for the Aadhar to be linked with the Voter's ID. Election Commission will simultaneously be empowered to link the two
  • Tapas Pal, former TMC MP, dies of cardiac arrest in Mumbai. He was questioned for his alleged involvement in the Rose Valley scam and gained notoriety for his rape remark in 2014.
  • Bypoll to panchayats in J&K, scheduled for March in eight phases, postponed due to security concerns.
  • Supreme Court says that overhead power transmission lines going through the Desert National Park in Jaisalmer in Rajasthan must go underground to save the Great Indian Bustard and the Lesser Florican
  • Pakistan not placed in FAFT blacklist but kept on the grey list with warning
  • The government is expected to announce duty cuts and other measures to combat business disruption due to coronavirus outbreak in China
Former principal secretary to PM Modi, Nripendra Mishra, appointed to head the temple committee of the Ram Janambhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust
oppn parties
Violence In Kolkata Road Show: Whodunit?

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2019-05-15 13:23:05

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The violence during Amit Shah’s roadshow in central Kolkata was a direct result of the two-way rivalry being witnessed in Bengal. On the one hand, the TMC is fiercely resisting the steady inroads the BJP is making in the state by cornering workers and vote share of the CPM while on the other, the CPM and other left parties are resisting the BJP’s attempts to influence their workers and voters.

It is very difficult to pinpoint who instigated the violence. While some reports pin the blame on the rowdy BJP workers – with one report, quoting witnesses, even said that Amit Shah himself egged them on – other reports say students and others having nothing to do with the roadshow or the BJP were instrumental in starting the fight. The BJP has blamed the TMC for starting the violence while the TMC has said that goons from outside the state started it when students protested against Amit Shah.

But whatever happened was sad and it was after a long time that the university area of College Street which houses the Calcutta University's main campus along with other colleges witnessed such scenes. Particularly shocking was the damage done to the bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar inside the Vidyasagar College. Eyewitnesses claimed that BJP workers shouted that “Vidyasagar’s days are gone” before breaking the bust. But the BJP has said that the fracas inside the college was engineered by TMC “goons”.

The BJP will have to realize that Bengal is different. Hindus in Bengal hold their icons in very high esteem. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was an educationist and reformer and did pioneering work in the field of education and women’s empowerment. He is one of the best-loved icons in the state. If BJP workers are indifferent to such sentiments, Amit Shah’s hope of consolidating Hindu votes in the state will never materialize.

Any party that has no charismatic local leader, little or no infrastructure and till now, low vote share will always face resistance when it tries to spread its wing in any state. But that does not mean that its workers will insult local icons or indulge in violence. Whatever the provocation, given that the party president was leading the show, BJP workers should have exhibited restraint. They would have won a lot of brownie points for that. But ahead of the polls in the city on May 19, their action is likely to harm the party.