Wednesday, March 29, 2023
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I am happy and sad with the TMC win in West Bengal — here’s why

Campus Voice is an initiative by ThePrint where young Indians get an opportunity to express their opinions on a prevalent issue.

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Around a month back, when all of BJP’s leadership were effusing confidence about an imminent and mega victory, the news portal Newslaundry conducted an interview with BJP President Dilip Ghosh. The former RSS pracharak stated in very clear terms that he would have no qualms carrying out a surgical strike in university campuses such as Jadavpur if elected to power. Unquestionable nationalism is non-negotiable, he announced.

Now, I am not one of those Left-leaning Bengali youth who daydreams of a romanticised revolution. If anything at all, I am a realist who realises that if unchecked, capitalism or communism, secularism or communalism, liberalism or conservatism, all have their limitations.

An ideal society is characterised by discussion, debate and compromises. And none of this can take place if the government of the day plans to conduct surgical strikes on university students. What sort of anarchical, animalistic social order resides in Ghosh’s imagination?

Although Didi and her party members have contributed next to nothing to the intellectual ecosystem in West Bengal, her government has not arrested writers, film-makers, singers, comedians or other public intellectuals for dissenting with the government.

And with a TMC administration, at the very least, students at Jadavpur will feel much safer.

Why I am sad TMC won

Having stayed in East Bangalore for nearly a year, I met more Bengalis than Kannadigas. However, during the same time and in the same locale, I only came across only half a dozen Gujaratis, a dozen Marathis and perhaps a couple dozen Tamils.

Surprising, right? Only till you dig a little deeper.

The remaining lot of Gujaratis, Marathis and Tamils were satisfactorily employed in their own cities and states. However, situated in a withering desert of deindustrialisation, the herd of Bengalis I met were forced to travel 1,900 km searching for the jobs they need or want. And the TMC win has shattered the residual hope a few people had for the economic revival of West Bengal in the near future.

Mamata Banerjee had heroically decimated 35 years of Left rule in West Bengal. However, she did this by driving away industrialists from Singur and Nandigram. The business community has neither forgotten nor forgiven her for these assaults. Additionally, with the disrepute of cut money, extortion and syndicates that have become synonymous with TMC’s rule, no major company dares to take the slightest risk to invest in the state.

Banerjee conducts a glamorous Biswa Bangla business summit each year, attended by the likes of Mukesh Ambani, Bharti Mittal, Sajjan Jindal and Karan Adani, all of whom levy heaps of praises on her leadership. However, after this hoopla ends, the optimism for industrial growth in West Bengal vanishes just as soon as the stage on which the event was held.

The BJP, while working incessantly and zealously to convert the social fabric of the state, has the trust of these industrialists.

Businesses love stability, discipline and small governments, all of which the BJP was more likely than the TMC to offer.

Furthermore, if the BJP had come to power, the state would have received massive funds for infrastructure development. None of that is likely to happen anytime soon now. The exodus of Bengali workforce to Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai and Gurgaon will, therefore, continue.

Parijat Choudhury is an alumni of National Institute of Technology, Silchar

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