oppn parties Violence In Kolkata Road Show: Whodunit?

News Snippets

  • Amit Panghal becomes first Indian male to win silver at the World Boxing Championships
  • "Gully Boy" to be India's entry for the Oscars
  • Rajeev Kumar called an "absconder" by the CBI
  • Alipore court refuses to grant anticipatory bail to Rajeev Kumar
  • Trump likely to sign a mini trade deal with India next week
  • Government planning a loan mela to cover 400 districts in two phases
  • PM Modi says Kashmiris need a hug from all Indians
  • NPA tag will not be put on any MSME till March 20
  • Government likely to announce another economic stimulus package today ahead of the GST Council meet in Goa
  • Air Marshall RKS Bhadauria, slated to retire just a few days from now, to be the next chief of IAF
  • PM Modi slams politicians from his own party who are making irresponsible statements on the Ayodhya case and tells them to wait for the Supreme Court order
  • Telecom panel says resident welfare associations (RWA) cannot give monopoly access to any one service provider and infrastructure in public spaces and residential complexes will have to be shared by all
  • Mamata Banerjee meets Amit Shah, tells him there is no need for an NRC in Bengal
  • After 14 days, there is no hope left for reviving Vikram, the moon lander
  • CBI teams search for elusive Rajeev Kumar
Election Commission announces elections in Maharashtra and Haryana on October 21. Counting and results on October 24. Bypolls, including for 15 seats in Karnataka, will be held simultaneously
oppn parties
Violence In Kolkata Road Show: Whodunit?

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.
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.