The unprovoked bluster of Abhishek Banerjee, a rising star in the Trinamul&’s firmament, smacks of medieval barbarity – “Party activists will gouge out the eyes and chop off the hands of those who would criticise the Mamata Banerjee government”. Such language has no place in the democratic discourse, especially in context of the 40th anniversary of the Emergency. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is known to be insensitive to criticism; her nephew was at his abrasive worst.
It would be gross understatement to suggest that his “warning” – at a public meeting in Basirhat – was intemperate or even advanced on the spur of the moment. It recalls similar fulmination by the party&’s MP from Krishnagar, who a year ago had warned CPI-M activists that they would be raped and murdered.
Or to a lesser degree, a minister&’s threat that those who interact with the CPI-M would be socially ostracised. For the past year, Miss Banerjee has barred Tapash Paul from attending the Lok Sabha; this time she has been characteristically unresponsive – if not patronising – to what must rank as an embarrassing disgrace for her nephew and the party.
The Chief Minister&’s nephew has clothed his unprovoked bluster with presumptuous allusions to “the people” – “People will have the last word”. His prescription against dissent was sufficiently explosive to provoke the BJP to file two FIRs.
Is it possible that the younger Banerjee reacted to BJP leader Rahul Sinha&’s exhortation to the police to “beat up” Trinamul cadres? Is Abhishek playing the role of an agent provocateur to ignite anarchic conditions between now and the elections? Is he aware he may have committed a cognisable offence? We do not expect answers to these queries anytime soon.
Without question, he has reacted with far greater indignation than he is entitled to and has, in the process, caused considerable damage to his party.
Markedly, both the CPI-M and the BJP have condemned the MP&’s medieval mindset. To the outrageous extent that even a public apology might not make amends.
The question that will rankle “people&’s” minds is whether West Bengal&’s police is in a position to question, let alone take action against the MP from Diamond Harbour. Very probably, not. But this nonsense must end.