Where The Mind Is Not Without Fear


Kolkata: Despite the commendable role played by the Central forces and the State police during the fourth phase of Assembly polls in West Bengal in conducting a fair and free election, the ‘Prague spring’ is far from being total as post poll violence continues.

The apparent tear in the ‘invincibility cloak’ of the ruling Trinamool Congress and with the Left-Cong alliance gathering steam, the ‘enforcers’ of the ruling party has gone all out to intimidate opposition voters with all possible means (read terror).

Two weeks ago biker gangs swarmed Shahid Smriti Colony in Panchasayer to threaten voters. Now, large swaths in Purba Jadavpur, Mukundapur and Panchasayer areas have lodged complaints alleging that Trinamool musclemen are knocking at their doors and demanding the residents-mostly Left supporters to hand over their voter identity cards before the elections.

As per a report published in TOI, the intimidation is led by ‘jai Hind Bahini’ a ‘Brown Shirt’ brigade of the Trinamool Congress, under the leadership of an influential South 24 parganas Trinamool leader.

Former CPM MP Sujan Chakroborty fighting the polls from Jadavpur has lodged a complaint at the election Commission and urged it to ensure proper security specially to ward nu-109 the most strife stricken area.

The residents of Kalikapur, Netai Nagar, Ahalya Nagar, Yamuna Nagar, Mukundapur B and C and Shahid Smriti Colony told media that mostly the bikers zoom in from Sonarpur.

Residents also complained that the Trinamool men have prevented the EC officials from delivering voter slips. They would tell the EC officials that as they know the area well they will distribute the slips, but the slips never made it to the voters, complained residents.

Trinamool is worried because Ward 109 – a Left bastion nurtured by CPM veteran Kanti Ganguly – had given Sujan a big lead against Trinamool’s Sugato Bose in the Lok Sabha elections. It was enough to give Sujan the lead in Jadavpur assembly constituency. Bose won the LS elections, but Trinamool got jittery and decided that it had to go all out to protect power minister Manish Gupta’s seat.

On the other hand, there appeared a silver line in the otherwise grim scenario as the state police have shed their shell and contained the ‘Dadas’ of the rulers from tempering with the voting process during the Monday’s poll.

The commendable job done by Kolkata police Commissioner Saumen Mitra who has been roped in by the EC and Javed Shamim of Bidhannagar Commissionerate have created panic in the ruler’s rank.

The bold action taken by the upper echelon of the force has instilled confidence among the lower level, the cops earlier depicted taking blows from the TMC ‘Netas’ are now seen wielding batons.

The fourth phase polls held on Monday in Howrah and North 24 Pargans were by far free and fair as the cops kept out known disturbing elements of the rulers like Tutun Ghazi, Bhijai Sardar and Mini Ghazi at bay.

Meanwhile, people too realised that bowing down before violence won’t pay and stood their ground. The barbaric act allegedly perpetrated by TMC goons, who thrashed a 3-year-old child in Halishahar, has drawn widespread condemnation and the locals stood their ground.

The U-turn of ‘our men’ (Mamata’s referral to police force) has left TMC shell shocked as the CM too complained of ‘atrocities’ by Central forces on Tuesday.

However, the high pitched polls for the fifth phase on Saturday, April 30 which will see heavy weight contestant including CM Mamata Banerjee and CPM’s Sujan Chakroborty is expected to be turbulent.

Monishankar Choudhury