On April the 30th, OpIndia.com had published an article where we had questioned the ostensible silence observed by The Print, a media portal run by the Chief of Editor’s Guild himself, on the rampant violence that had gripped West Bengal during the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha Elections.
Finally, Shekhar Gupta has spoken on the political developments of West Bengal. The Chief of Editors’ Guild has finally opened his mouth on the matter and he has opened to compliment, congratulate and shower adulation on Mamata Banerjee whose party is responsible for the most disgraceful events in the elections so far. He has this to say: “Fight fire with fire, venom with venom… Mamata in Bengal shows how the offence is the best defence to stop the Modi-Shah cavalry…”
Fight fire with fire, venom with venom…
Mamata in Bengal shows how offence is the best defence to stop the Modi-Shah cavalry…
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) May 4, 2019
The tweet gives the impression that Gupta was complimenting Mamata Banerjee’s proclivity towards violence. However, the article makes it clear that Gupta is referring to her political rhetoric. Small mercies.
However, the real concern is while Gupta has reserved vast criticisms for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, he has no words to offer to condemn the cycle of violence that West Bengal finds itself in. He calls Narendra Modi and Amit Shah ‘street fighters’ and yet, he blithely ignores the attack on journalists, on Union Minister Babul Supriyo by goons allegedly associated with Trinamool and the collusion of polling officers.
Gupta is the Chief of the Editors’ Guild. One would have expected him to sympathize with journalists at least who suffered at the hands of Trinamool and yet, such incidents are of no concern to Gupta at all.
The propagandist says of Mamata, “Not a word she says in response to the BJP is defensive, nothing is said to play the victim, and because you mocked her, she mocks you back like none else can, with the possible exception, lately, of Raj Thackeray.” One could almost laugh at the assertion that Mamata doesn’t play the victim. Lately, she came out in support of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar and termed the CBI probe against him a ‘political vendetta’ by the BJP. She even sat on Dharna against the BJP over the CBI raids.
The entire article comes across as a paid advertisement to whitewash the crimes of a politician who is accused of great brutality. At another point, Gupta says, “Mamata also isn’t impressed by BJP’s shock-and-awe tactic. She is probably the toughest politician in India now, tougher than Mayawati. She is also a street-fighter, which Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, Kamal Nath and Akhilesh Yadav aren’t. But, for further clarity, Arvind Kejriwal is. Steeled through survival in a state that was no better than a Left Front concentration camp for her, she also knows the art of turning adversity into opportunity. Or grabbing the opportunity when Narendra Modi says it’s become difficult for Bengalis to even hold Durga Pujas.”
Gupta’s words only reveal that mainstream media journalists live in a make-believe world of their own. “Toughest Politician” he calls Mamata. Engaging in brutality, rigging polls, intimidating voters, leaders of the party urging followers to attack central forces, these are not evidence of ‘toughness’, it’s just corruption.
He concludes his article with the words, “If Modi and Shah have made a poisonous, polarising campaign their brahmastra for 2019, Mamata Banerjee is showing them its limitations. Or why it will “hoy na” (won’t happen) in her state of 42 MPs.” Even Mamata Banerjee won’t buy the sewage Gupta is selling here. If she felt that way, we wouldn’t have witnessed the extent of brutality that we have seen thus far.
It’s quite clear from the article that it was never Gupta’s intention to present an honest picture of what’s happening in Bengal. From the very outset, his primary objective was to present Mamata Banerjee as a noble character out to defeat the forces of communalism and bigotry manifested in the form of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah with Yogi Adityanath making a guest appearance. Harry Potter is closer to reality than the story Gupta tells us in his article.
It’s utterly disgraceful that Gupta doesn’t come close to mentioning the atrocities that are being perpetrated by the Mamata government. It’s a travesty that is unfolding in the state and Gupta doesn’t bother to mention that West Bengal is perhaps the only state where free and fair elections are not happening in the country. BJP Karyakartas are being killed with impunity, voters are too scared to vote and all Gupta has to say is to heap praise on the individual summarily responsible for all this.
The conduct of the Chief if Editors Guild only reveals that one need only be ‘Secular’ to have all his or her crimes absolved by mainstream media. To paraphrase Donald Trump’s infamous words, “When you’re secular, they let you do it. You can do anything. Murder your political opponents, rig elections, intimidate voters and polling officers, throw free and fair elections in the garbage bin. You can do anything.”