It is shameful that Bengal continues to make a mockery of the democratic process election after election and is fast earning the moniker of becoming the wild badlands of India, a prefix which was one time used to define the heartland. Bengal has proved that regimes may come and go but the culture of intimidation and violence now has a systemic hold and validity that no ideology seems immune to. So it is that the panchayat elections, which are a weather vane of popular pulse, seem to have spun out of control with reports of largescale violence unleashed by the ruling Trinamool Congress and nine casualties at the time of going online.
Vandalisation, threats, body blows, ballot box loots and other brutalities — in one place some party volunteers even drew a lakshman rekha asking voters not to cross it — turned the election into a farce. And although the opposition, the Left and BJP, complained of excesses, they too resorted to similar hitback tactics against the Trinamool, albeit in lesser measure and provoked into a tit-fot-tat. Of the 58,000-plus seats in the state, more than 38,000 are up for grabs with Trinamool already pocketing 34 per cent seats in its kitty unopposed. That’s another tale of coercion. But to be antsy despite that, with the state machinery, election commission and the law and order machinery under its heel, means the Trinamool is pressing upon the earth all too hard and maybe in danger of losing grasp on its roots.
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