Happy Holi ! The colours of democracy are also truly vibrant as we slowly head towards general elections. Like all the states activities are heating up here in Bengal. TMC is looking for a record haul, whereas left is struggling to keep itself politically relevant. Paribartan (Change) may have come, but the basic political lexicons and sankskriti (culture) remains the same in Bengal. These along with some new issues are used in a cliched manner by political parties in speeches after speeches. Here is a quick chit sheet..
The invisible foreign hand
This was started by the left. Every central decision was branded as a Markin Sharojantro (American conspiracy). Irrespective of the context, the rhetoric always crossed the prescribed decibel. From introduction of computers to usage of ATM all was seen with trepidation. Now this template has been successfully usurped by TMC. Thus from F.D.I to pension reforms, fears of Uncle Sam remains perpetual. The perils of crony capitalists and evil imperialists are still repeated often.
No matter which party is in power, the notion of being short changed by Delhi remains a hit formula. Bengalis have always felt betrayed about shifting of capital from Kolkata to Delhi in 1911. This historical fact along with some modern day realities has been used to the hilt by political parties to hide their inefficiencies and garner votes. From memorial for Netaji to moratorium for Bengal, Delhi remains the perpetual soft target.
Power of 34
For those living under rocks or walls in Facebook, 34 signifies the number of years Left ruled in Bengal. Hence in speech after speech, it gets mentioned ad nauseam. Depending on the political party, it was either shade better than Holocaust or one unending Christmas Party.
The Secular debate
Agreed, it is not a phenomenon limited to Bengal. But with minority population touching 30 per cent, it has become a vital issue in the elections. Each party professes to be secular one definition at a time!!
Mela and Utsav (Fairs and festivals)
One may be a bit puzzled to think what festivals and fairs have to do with elections? But in Bengal these have grabbed headlines and subsequently repeated mentions in political speeches. Mamata government has started slew of festivals making the commies go red!!
Third and Federal Front
In advertising, product differentiation is a key element to success. The idea is used by political parties too. The Left and TMC can’t co-exist. Yet both want to be a part of non-Congress, non BJP alliance. Thus for Left’s pan India third front, Didi has floated the idea of federal front. Both are essentially same though. Comparison between Coke and Pepsi anyone??
Politics of rape
This is a relatively newer phenomenon. For all its branding as the land of “ Bhadroloks”( decent people) violence against women is on the rise in the state. From Park Street to Madhyamgram, incidence of brutality has shocked us. These as expected are often being mentioned in the elections by political parties to earn brownie points.
TET and Chit
The primary exams for teachers have gone into all sort of legal hurdles thus making it a prominent talking point for the opponents. Saradha Chit fund scam, which shook the nation and for which a sitting Trinamool M.P is currently in jail is another major political issue. The brickbats continue to be traded between the rival parties about the real benefactor of the scams.
In this way some old issues and new ones occupy the political stages. Some touches chord with people but most are ignored as mere rhetoric by voters who know better. Ultimately elections come and go, common people are left to fight in their own…..