Onset of winter sees political temperature soaring in Bengal
As the cold weather approaches, political temperature seems to be rising in Bengal amid claims and counterclaims by opposition BJP and the ruling TMC over the stability of the Mamata Banerjee-led government.
The month of December has assumed significance in Bengal's political landscape over the past few months with several BJP leaders, including Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, stating on occasions that the TMC would cease to exist when the year draws to a close, an assertion that was initially rebuffed by the ruling camp.
However, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressing concern over recent arms seizures in the state and voicing apprehension that attempts were being made to stir unrest in north Bengal, BJP's dire warnings are now being taken seriously by some, sources in the party said.
Demand for a separate union territory had been gaining ground in north Bengal, with several BJP leaders and local outfits asserting since last month that it was only a ''matter of time''.
The BJP leadership, however, has distanced itself from the remark.
TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh alleged that it was evident from the BJP leaders' statements that they were hatching a conspiracy to destabilize the state government.
''The BJP had been seeking revenge one way or the other after its defeat in the last assembly polls. It is evident from their statements that they are hatching a conspiracy to destabilize the state government and create disturbances through various means. If any untoward incident happens in December, the BJP will be responsible for it,'' Ghosh said.
Echoing him, veteran TMC leader Sougata Roy said the BJP is ''desperate to capture power'' in West Bengal by hook or by crook.
''The BJP is trying to create a December phobia to boost the morale of party workers. We have seen in Maharashtra and other states that the party can stoop to any level to seize power. They are fanning separatism and creating a financial blockade by stopping fund flow to the state,'' Roy told PTI.
Adhikari had said in August that the TMC government will ''cease to exist'' by December, and assembly elections will be held in the state along with the Lok Sabha polls in 2024.
Top BJP leaders, including state president Sukanta Majumdar, too had said that ''unprecedented'' political developments will occur in December.
BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh, when approached, claimed that the state government is administratively and financially on a sticky wicket.
''The way senior TMC leaders and ministers were arrested, one after another, in the last few months, shows that the entire government and the party are involved in corruption. You never know who is next. The law and order situation, too, has worsened. So we feel that the survival of the TMC government is at stake,'' Ghosh stated.
BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya feels that the state is on the verge of economic collapse.
''The TMC is facing political instability, and the economic situation in the state is awful. The TMC leaders are at each other's throats. The survival of this government is at stake,'' he told PTI.
CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said that both the TMC and the BJP were making attempts to ''create a binary to divert attention from real issues''.
Political analysts and economists, however, feel the situation is better than what was being projected by the BJP.
''The economic situation of any state is gauged by its debt ratio and GSDP, and those figures are not alarming. After the implementation of GST, tax collection has also improved. But at the same time, populist and welfare schemes are putting pressure on the state exchequer,'' economist Ajitav Rai Chaudhuri told PTI.
Veteran political scientist Amal Mukhopadhyay claimed that ''a narrative created around a month is something unprecedented in the history of Bengal politics''.
''Never before have we seen so much hype being created around a month. I feel it's a hoax to keep the political cauldron boiling. At present, politics in Bengal is just about mudslinging, communal polarisation and creating a narrative to stay afloat,'' Mukhopadhyay, former principal of Presidency College, added.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)