Follow Us:

On Martyr’s Day

But having repeatedly pulled up her party cadres for demanding “cut money” in connection with projects under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, she has now deflected the focus to the black money that, she alleges, has been siphoned off by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Editorial | Kolkata |

Concordant with the trend over the past few years, the martyrs suffered a minor rating at Sunday’s Martyrs’ Day rally in Kolkata.

Twenty- six years after the tragedy at Esplanade, little or no thought was spared in memory of the 13 Youth Congress activists who fell to the police bullet on 21 July 1993. It is painful to reflect that they have been relegated to the footnotes of political discourse.

The presentations of Mamata Banerjee and other worthies on the dais were riveted to the latest scam called “cut money” and a rediscovery of the virtues of the ballot paper, in preference to the Electronic Voting Machine. Using the ballot paper in the next municipal and KMC elections would be tantamount to putting the clock back, even if the State Election Commission is directed to ensure the same.

Such misdeeds of the political class as stamping of ballot papers and stuffing them into the box, once part of the electoral furniture, must still rankle the electorate. Ergo, the risk of the revival of the cadre raj on the day of the KMC election is dangerously real. Fidgeting with the EVM cannot alone explain the thumping majority of any party, as the CPI-M leader, Mr Biman Bose, had said while conceding Trinamul’s achievement in 2011.

But having repeatedly pulled up her party cadres for demanding “cut money” in connection with projects under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, she has now deflected the focus to the black money that, she alleges, has been siphoned off by the Bharatiya Janata Party. She hasn’t gone into details though.

In her reckoning, there are two primary sources of filthy lucre ~ cut money and black money. While the beneficiaries of the first are Trinamul activists, it is the BJP that has gained from the second. Her intention obviously was to blunt the criticism over cut money while addressing a gallery of party supporters. Which explains why there was an apparent dumbing-down of her hitherto strident demand for the return of cut money, endemic across rural Bengal And the few who have abided by her directive are Trinamul functionaries of the panchayati raj.

Critical too was her allegation that the BJP asks for cut money from beneficiaries of such schemes as Ujjala and the one pertaining to LPG cylinders. In the aftermath of the debacle in the Lok Sabha election, her signal to initiate what she calls Janasanjog yatras is a faint echo of the CPI-M’s resolve to reach out to the people of rural Bengal in an effort to ascertain the reasons for its denouement in 2011.

In retrospect and judging by the results of the 2016 election, the exercise was generally ineffective for the Bengal Left. Mamata Banerjee will have to address the red herrings across the trail to the state Assembly, come 2021.