The words of Walter Lippmann beautifully captures the essence of democracy. It goes as the following, “In a democracy, the opposition is not only tolerated as constitutional but must be maintained because it is indispensable.” Being a learned member of the parliament of the largest democracy in the world, I am sure you are very well aware of it. But your recent article in New York Times “I know what it takes to defeat Narendra Modi” was a litany of lies promoting sycophancy over talent. As an Indian student in University of Alberta, I would like to take this opportunity to make you realize that being a member of Indian Parliament, you should be more responsible before writing such lies in a global media like New York Times.
As per your article the second wave was rising up in India on February 26th when Election Commission of India declared an 8 phased election in West Bengal. You tacitly tried to put the blame of corona mismanagement by the state Government to Election Commission but the data available from Government of India website says in between 07th to 14th April active percentage of Corona cases in West Bengal and other state where election was going on was around 5% in comparison to around 14% in other badly affected states like Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Punjab; surprisingly, no election was going on in those states.
During this pandemic, on several occasions we have seen Prime Minister Modi hold virtual meetings with all chief ministers to make strategies to save people. Could you please say on how many occasions WB Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee attended those meetings? During the second wave of Corona, we have seen the painful situation of oxygen scarcity in India. As per official information from GOI, we came to know that almost Rs. 200 crores were given to all states to make Oxygen producing plants in January. Unfortunately, WB made no such plants. The 7th Schedule of the Constitution of India speaks about three lists. Union list, state list, and concurrent list. There are 61 items currently on the state list. As per entry 6 of the state list public health sanitation hospitals and dispensaries are under state list. As per entry 1& 2 Public order and police is under state list. I am utterly surprised that how did you put the blame to the PM for monumental mismanagement in handling covid-19 situation in our state?
Not surprisingly you pointed out at a Hindu festival “Kumbh Mela” as the super spreader of the second wave. Although the arrangements were done when there was no lockdown or a raging wave of the covid. This is nothing but an example of selectively targeting one community by violating the Constitutional right of Freedom of Religion. We have seen that Kolkata police personnel were literally kicked out from certain areas when they went to implement lockdown during the first wave. Every Friday, minorities gather for their religious rituals. They have been performing their religious rituals regularly even amidst the lockdown yet predictably you fail to mention them. The Kumbh mela dissolved months before schedule as soon as the Prime Minister appealed to them while the first super spreader in India, the Tablighi Jamaat had refused to end their programme where the National Security Advisor had to intervene. In the ongoing farmer’s protest, a woman has died of the disease, Oxygen supplies delayed to Delhi and yet they are never criticized.
In the recent past we have seen horrible violence in West Bengal and nearly 140 workers of opposition parties in the state were brutally killed as per Media reports. In 2019, people in the state witnessed horrible riots in many places. As a ruling party in the state, the TMC did not initiate any action against such violence. To ensure people’s safety and peaceful election, the Election Commission rightly decided to conduct election in 8–phases. You mislead the audience by hiding this reality in your article. I truly believe the entire election campaign should have been done virtually to handle corona. As far as I know only the BJP party made such an appeal during the election in Bihar but unfortunately other parties denied that proposal. Could you please tell us if your party made any such appeal to the election commission? You also distorted the judgement of Madras High Court, no where in the judgement copy it was mentioned that Election Commission should be dragged to court for killing people by conducting vote.
You labelled the Prime Minister as misogynist and blamed him for a toxic sentence against our Chief Minister “Didi-O-Didi” which literally translates to “dear elder sister”. During the 2019 Lok Sabha election, PM also used this same word “Didi-O-Didi” and people of the state gave him 18 seats and you won 22 seats. During the recent state election campaign words used by our Chief Minister against the prime Minister were not only derogatory but also abusive. It is important to remember that it was Modi who sent liquid cash three times to all women’s “Jan Dhan” bank accounts during the pandemic and also it was Modi who made “triple talaq” illegal in India, a basic right of women to fight patriarchy.
Our state WB contributed around 40% in Indian GDP during the 1960s. At present it only contributes around 5%. Average income of the people of our state is almost 20% lower than the average income of the people in India. Over the last decade, our state government doubled the debt of the state without trying to set up infrastructure development for industrialization. The people of the state are literally in a survival mode rather than to think for a better lifestyle. So, after facing all this crisis people gave absolute mandate to your party because you offered free staff to them and unfortunately just after winning the election 12 people were murdered in the state, several women were abused, and thousands of people left their home due to post poll violence. All around the country people raised their concern and several appeals were filed to the Supreme Court for this. Though you and your party leaders tried to convince people by saying all those are fake news but your Chief Minister announced 2 lacs compensation for those who died in post poll violence.
Lastly you know Ms. Mahua Moitra, dictators always have one common identity, not to accept people’s mandate. Your party won this election in a huge way but your leader Mamata Banerjee lost in her constituency against BJP candidate Subhendu Adhikary and now as per media she is moving to supreme court for recounting. While she accepted the victory in all others, her own loss is hard to digest for her. My congratulations to Didi for taking the oath as first Chief Minister of the state who lost the election, but her party won. Such an incredible thing can only happen in democracy.
You have grown up in a rich family as reflected by your cultural values “Sanibare matinee robibare mangso”(enjoyment and party in the weekend). This is the reason why politicians who belong to your privileged class can not digest the journey of a Tea seller in railway platform to become the Prime Minister in India. Though the royal Nehru-Gandhi family raised the political slogan of eradicating poverty from the society but it was the tea seller Modi who opened bank account for all poor, gave all of the, LPG connection, brought all poor under nationwide Mediclaim scheme, made toilets in every households, successfully brought electrification in all villages. In addition he did not promote freebies rather created opportunities for middle class to become self reliant.
I am sure after this pandemic is over, people of the state will start asking their freebies to you and be prepared to fulfil their claims at that time. Remember from the huge mandate in 2006, it took just 5 years to topple popular communist government from our state. You know how to spread lies to win just one election to retain in power, but democracy knows how to reply back.