West Bengal is known for it’s rich cultural as well as intellectual heritage and Bengali society is widely known for it’s secular charecter. Though during the partion the communal riots broke out in the state but and Gandhi ji had to kept fast onto death to persuade people to maintain the communal harmoney. But since 1947-47 the the communal riots and mass killings – frequently reported in North and West India – are not common in the state. Neither are caste killings, even as they happen in the rest of the country.
In spite of this fact, West Bengal does not stand out in terms of political violence. The panchayat election that were held recently, the state became the witness of one of the worst political violence. According to BJP it’s 52 workers were killed in the run-up face of the poll.
his. The Bharatiya Janata Party claims 52 of its workers were murdered in the run-up to the polls. The ruling Trinamool Congress, on its part, says 14 of its workers were killed. In many areas, the party prevented Opposition candidates from filing nominations and as a result won 34% of gram panchayat seats uncontested. Moreover, even after the elections, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the BJP have accused the Trinamool Congress of attacking their cadre.
The poll violence in panchayat elections attracted the wole nation but political violence is not a new custom in West Bengal.
When it comes to politics in West Bengal, though, violence seems to be the currency of choice for political parties. For years, the CPI(M) was accused of intimidating voters and Opposition cadres. This election cycle, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) has taken up the mantle with vigour. Every phase of polling has been accompanied by open attacks, either by “unknown persons” or TMC party workers.
So what is the cause behind the frequent political violence in West Bengal. Multy parties in the Bengal gave diffrent reasons for this and they have diffrent theories about it.
1. The Communist attributes it to the uneven land distribution. The left government in Bengal had once started the programme Operation Barga. This is considered as the one of the most successful land distrbution in Indian history. Left leaders say that the move to give the land back to the tiller is the main cause of political violence. Mamata Banerjee led TMC wants to repeal the move and wants to take back their lands.
Land ceiling and redistribution was marked by violence. Now though, the CPI(M) believes, the violence is to help the erstwhile landlords. The TMC is trying to undo the pro-poor policies of the Left by trying to take back the land. The leaders of Communist part criticizes the TMC for the violence.
2. Some political experts relate the political violence to the Naxal movent which had originated in Naxalbari during 1950-60. The founding fathers of Naxalism, Charu Mazumdar suppoted the violence and said declared that complete annihilation of class enemies. Origin of left sponsered naxalism fouded the culture of political violence.
3. Another theory that tries to explain the culture of political violence in Bengal is the identity politics. For a Bengali, potical ideology is to him what social identity is to North Indian states specially UP and Bihar. The politics of caste and religion hasn’t taken root here in the same way but politics always arises passion and the Bengali society is not exceptional. Unlike UP and Bihar where social identity is everything, the Bengali youth is more attached to political loyalities and it reaches to a point where loyality turned into fanaticism.