The day I lost all faith in one of my childhood heroes: Derek O’Brien

Growing up in the 90s meant waking up and watching Bournvita Quiz Contest hosted by Derek O’Brien on TV followed by B. R. Chopra’s Mahabharat. I remember getting exciting when a school from Ahmedabad made it to the contest, albeit rarely.

Hence, Derek O’Brien, Member of Parliament of Trinamool Congress, here is a quick question for you.

How many deaths are ‘normal’?

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The answer is zero, not, this piece of insensitivity:

West Bengal, which is voting for Panchayat polls today is more like a warm up to the 2019 general elections where Mamata is eyeing the highest post. 40 of the West Bengal’s 42 Lok Sabha seats are located in the districts that going to the polls today. Amidst all this, the voting is witnessing a lot of violence. Ballot boxes are being looted at gunpoint by gunmen!

However, TMC leaders took this opportune time to say how 40 (instances of violence) out of 58,000 booths are just ‘few incidents’. Yes, while the political murders and deaths seem to have come down from the time CPIM ruled West Bengal, even then this is no way of defending violence.

O’Brien then went ahead and accused the news agency ANI, which was reporting on the violence in West Bengal, as ‘agenda driven’.

This was immediately rebutted by ANI Editor, Smita Prakash, who called it a ‘scurrilous attack’

But it seems like trivializing violence is a line of thought TMC subscribes to, going by the tweets by TMC’s official Twitter account which calls the violence during panchayat polls as ‘conspiracy’. They even accused the Border Security Force of being employed by the BJP.

When others tried to hold TMC responsible for violence perpetrated by their goons, O’Brien again got defensive and resorted to whataboutery.

Instead of saying what steps they’re undertaking to curb violence since by their own admission law and order is state subject, O’Brien chose to defend violence.

TMC came to power on the ‘Maa Maati Maanush’ plank. Today, Maanush are being murdered for exercising their franchise. Mamata Banerjee once represented hope for the people of Bengal and it is time she shuns this violence, and the justification of it.

Here’s the thing, sir. When someone points out that there is disruption of law and order in your state, especially when your party is in power, you don’t justify it. You don’t compare how the deaths are ‘lesser’ now than previous governments. You accept that the violence is taking place and let those whose votes you are expected to know what steps you are taking to keep them safe.

From defaming private citizens in Parliament while being protected by Parliamentary privilege, to defending violence for political gains, O’Brien has come a long way on the road of disappointment.

Today, I lost faith in one of my childhood heroes.


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