It is ironical that two persons who belong to parties that promised to usher in change are perpetuating the same kind of recriminatory politics that soured the pre-election atmosphere before the Lok Sabha polls of 2014 and the assembly elections in November and December last year.
BJP president Amit Shah, by saying at a public rally in Kolkata that he had come to uproot the Trinamool Congress, was incorrect in his choice of words to such an extent that it may not be appreciated by the people whose hearts he is trying to win. In a democracy it is the people and the people only who keep or remove a party in power.
But when Mr Shah said he would himself do the job, he could be seen as putting himself above the people. More serious than that is his allegation that the ill-gotten money of the Saradha scam had been used in the Burdwan blasts and that the West Bengal government is shielding the blast accused.
If such a thing is true, let it come from the National Investigation Agency. Any insinuation that the state government was in league with the terrorists might actually create serious law and order problems.
However, the sensible part of Mr Shah’s speech is his question before West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee: If she could be so concerned about land-losers in Singur, where a Tata Motors factory was supposed to come up, why she is somewhat silent about the Saradha scam?
Mr Shah’s speech had enough provocation, however. Ms Banerjee recently said the Burdwan blasts had been stage-managed. And she linked the arrest of an MP of the Trinamool to her participation in a function to remember Jawaharlal Nehru. To this had been added the aspersions cast on the national security adviser by a prominent Trinamool functionary. Finally attempts had been made to stop Mr Shah’s rally, which had to be finally allowed by the Calcutta high court. Where Mr Shah erred is in allowing himself to be provoked.
What is the upshot of such grandstanding? First, it is governance, the economy, education, health, etc, — things people are more interested in — that fall by the wayside. A state like West Bengal, which has been going downhill, can hardly afford this.
Second, in a democracy the tone of politics can sometimes be a pre-deciding factor in discourse in several other fields. If the level of politics goes downhill, the degeneration recoils on various other aspects of life because people tend to lose the value of argument.
Third, when the political executive is not seen to be acting impartially and in the best interests of society, the judiciary steps in, and takes actions that clearly fall in the governmental domain, as was seen in this case. This is hardly a desirable turn of events both for the state in particular and democracy in general.