After 34 years of Left –front rule (communist rule) in West Bengal a political change took place in 2011 in the State. The people of West Bengal expected lots of development from the new government under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee, the first woman Chief Minister of the State. When I was in service (now retired Professor) in an organization of the Government of India for official and academic purposes I visited the State. I observed serious unemployment, poverty, refugee issues, high density of population, low agricultural land holding, etc were the major issues in the State. It is pertinent to mention that as per the ‘Refugee Relief and Rehabilitation Department of the Government of West Bengal, “the census figures show the number of refugees from East Pakistan in 1971 was nearly 6 million (60 lakh) and in 1981, the number was assessed at 8 million (80 lakh)”. Anyway, the people of West Bengal had lots of expectations from the present State Government but the loose -talk of some leaders, criticizing central leaders, scandals, etc., have lowered the image of the All-India Trinamool Congress (AITC/TMC). Indians always want to see a political leader should be free from all sorts of corruption and also from the loose talk. But under the AITC/TMC rule situation is different.
I am pained to see the unfortunate happenings in the State because the State produced a number of great personalities, and great stalwarts in all the fields – cultural, religion, literature, science, and the freedom movement. The first case took place in 2014 June, “TMC MP Tapas Pal has threatened to kill opposition CPM workers and have their women raped if a single ruling party worker was attacked. The comments triggered an uproar and sparked condemnation by opposition parties with CPM demanding that the Lok Sabha Speaker take suo motu cognizance of Pal’s outburst and disqualify him. (The Times of India, 30/6/2014). Tapas Pal was a great actor and I had the opportunity to watch many movies acted by him but after such a statement I was dejected. Another highly deplorable issue is that after the Assembly elections in West Bengal (2021), many violent incidents took place in different forms which did not happen recently in any State assembly elections but the worst things happened after the Assembly election in West Bengal. Now worst case in the State is the ‘Teachers recruitment scam’ which cannot be imagined in a culturally developed State like West Bengal. Thanks to Calcutta High Court otherwise probably 10th failed persons would have got teachers’ jobs by paying bribes to the ruling party leaders. I am presenting here a case, Trinamul Congress youth leader Kuntal Ghosh, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on 21 January 2023, told media persons on Wednesday (25/01/23) that “he is confident that someday the masterminds of the scam will be arrested. Corruption is sky-high. Let there be a proper investigation and everything will be revealed. The names of the masterminds in the matter will surface. It will be revealed who is guilty and who is not. A grand conspiracy has been hatched in the matter, which is the biggest in recent times. However, he did not specify who these ‘masterminds’ are” (The Statesman, 26/01/23). It is pertinent to mention here that on 23 July 2022, former Education Minster of the State Partha Chatterjee was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the alleged State School Service Commission (SSC) recruitment scam cases along with his aide actress Arpita Mukherjee. We all know crores and crores of rupees were recovered. Another corrupt leader of TMC is Anubrata Mandal and I am simply quoting India TV( 11/08/22) “Who is Anubrata Mondal: Bengal’s ‘Bahubali’ politician and trusted aide of Mamata. Mondal (62), who is presently TMC’s Birbhum district president and member of the party’s national working committee, rose to prominence in the 11 years of the TMC regime in Bengal, mostly for his audacious statements and browbeating”. Such types of leaders are dominating the TMC/AITC. While watching TV discussions, I observed some TMC representatives, refer to law and order or corruption cases of a few ‘BIMARU’ States but they should remember how the States, of the South of India, have been developing. Many persons from other parts of India including West Bengal for employment, medical treatment, and education are coming to the States of South India. Anyway, even some Calcutta High Court judges are also facing problems. Justice Rajasekhar Mantha and Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of Calcutta High Court were criticized by TMC leaders for their judgment. It seems some TMC leaders desired corruption, scams, etc., should not be highlighted by the judges. Recent incidents with Indian Secular Front (ISF) MLA, Naushad Siddique were very unfortunate and deplorable. It seems TMC leaders do not want ISF should emerge as a big political party. Lastly, my personal opinion is that among the Chief Ministers of West Bengal, the real and productive development took place during the legendary physician and the second Chief Minister of West Bengal, Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy popularly known as Dr. B.C. Roy’s regime. He had done highly positive politics and developed the State as a sequel the State reached its zenith in those days.
Dr Shankar Chatterjee, Hyderabad