Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s tirade against the police in the past week has triggered speculation that the chief minister is increasingly anxious about her party’s chances in the ongoing West Bengal polls.
At rallies in East Midnapore and Cooch Behar, Banerjee accused police of unleashing terror and threatened them with dire consequences, prompting opposition parties to dub her words a manifestation of pent-up frustration.
“Election is a festival of democracy. But they (EC) imposed section 144 and a section of police terrorised people as if curfew was imposed. Those who did it will have to suffer in the coming days,” said Banerjee on Sunday.
Opposition leaders say police isn’t toeing the government’s line as they smell change in the air.
Police and paramilitary personnel have earned widespread praise for their handling of the fourth and fifth phase of polling. In both Kolkata and Bidhannagar, police officers unleashed an unprecedented crackdown on local toughs who take orders from ruling party bosses. Many say these as the most peaceful elections ever in Bengal.
The crackdown on her party’s network – accused of rigging previous elections – and purported exit polls showing the Left-Congress alliance ahead have appeared to anger Banerjee.
The police department is under Banerjee.
“The chief minister realised her men have abandoned her, and therefore, these signs of frustration. This government is dead,” said CPI-M politburo member Suryakanta Mishra.
“This shows her mental state. She is apprehensive of defeat. She is angry since the police is not prostrating before her since the second phase of elections on and after April 17,” said former state Congress chief Manas Bhuniya.
That Mamata Banerjee is under extreme stress is corroborated even by her family members. “She’s taking on extreme pressure that makes us worried about her health.” Lata Banerjee, the CM’s sister-in law told HT.
A frugal eater, Banerjee is learnt to have cut back on her diet at a time when the state is wilting under searing temperatures. Family members say her sleep is disturbed and she is keeping her cellphone on round-the-clock.