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As Communists fade electorally in Bengal, is their inner Naxal emerging?

Same newspaper. Two items published only one day apart. But while the violence in JNU was “chilling and brutal” and caused “anarchy,” the violence during Communist/Congress sponsored bandh in Bengal is described as “stray incidents.”

See if you catch the difference in tone between these two articles published by The Hindu, which often favours Communists.

Article by The Hindu
Article by The Hindu

Same newspaper. Two items published only one day apart. But while the violence in JNU was “chilling and brutal” and caused “anarchy,” the violence during Communist/Congress sponsored bandh in Bengal is described as “stray incidents.”

Why? Violence is violence. By all accounts, the violence in Bengal was much more widespread than what happened in a single campus in Delhi. But why wasn’t it “chilling and brutal?”

This is how elite media “normalizes” the violence perpetrated by the Left.

No, there’s nothing “stray” about left-wing violence in Bengal. When ordinary people and public property are attacked, it’s always chilling. Did liberals bother to ask ordinary people if they found the Communist violence a “stray” incident of seemingly little consequence? Or are ordinary folks just supposed to accept violence from Communists as a fact of life?

Read: Revisiting Sainbari, a blot on Indian Democracy: When Communists made a mother eat rice with her dead sons’ blood

Consider what actually happened yesterday in Bengal. The CPIM has already been rejected by the people of Bengal in the most comprehensive manner possible. Their vote share is down to a mere 7%. Out of the 42 seats in Bengal, the Left lost deposit in as many as 41 seats!

Rejected at the voting booth, the comrades are back with sticks and stones, burning tires, attacking cars, buses carrying out wanton violence on the streets (any resemblance to anti-CAA riots is merely incidental)

How “chilling and brutal” is it that Communists are trying to uproot the elected government through raw street violence? Who will call them out on this?

Could there be something much deeper and more dangerous happening in Bengal? As Communists lose their last few hopes in Bengal’s electoral system, is their inner Naxal emerging?

Read: West Bengal: CM Mamata Banerjee says ‘Gundagardi’ and ‘Dadagiri’ is not a movement, calls Left’s Bharat Bandh as ‘cheap politics’

It seems that there has always been an umbilical cord between so-called “mainstream” Communist parties and Communist terror organizations that operate in forested areas of Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. The connections are much denied and much covered up with powerful denials and support from sympathetic media.

But the connections appear evident for everyone to see. The rhetoric of Communist “free speech heroes” in mainstream media is virtually the same as their terrorist comrades, with just some disclaimers thrown in here and there. When they are caught raising the same slogans, they insist (quite comically) that we should interpret their words differently.  An “Azaadi” chant by left-wing media heroes is supposed to be treated as a call for freedom from hunger or something.

It’s like they have no choice in vocabulary but to borrow from the slogans of terror groups. They all raise the same flag with the same hammer and sickle and pray to the same global Communist icons who were all mass murderers.

But they insist they have nothing in common.

Read: The Battle from CAA to JNU: Khilafat 2.0, Communist Fantasies, Petty Politics and the conspiracy of Hong Kong-style protests

When in power, how different is their thinking from that of their Naxal comrades? Don’t forget that the Communist government admitted on the floor of West Bengal Assembly in 1997 that 28,000 political murders had happened in the state since the Communists came to power. Imagine what the real number could be.

But the days of Communist rule in Bengal are long gone. Whatever hopes of a comeback they might have had were shattered in 2016. In 2019, they could just save 1 deposit in the whole state. By 2024, they might not be able to save even one.

Cut to the time of independence. After the first general election, the Communists were the principal opposition to the Congress party. They might well have expected to win power someday.

But decades passed and nothing happened for them. By the 1970s, they were fed up and began a violent insurgency. They saw a bit of electoral success when the Congress weakened in 1977. Many of them were enticed by the opportunity of running a virtual dictatorship in Bengal. Another chunk stayed on the path of terror.

By the 1990s, the Congress had essentially cut a deal with the comrades, ceding Bengal and Tripura to them. As Congress declined, the Communists had enough to keep them invested to some extent in electoral politics.

Read: West Bengal: Videos of police vandalising vehicles and setting them on fire emerge from Malda

But then the Communist party itself went into terminal electoral decline in Bengal. Suddenly, Congress did not even need them any more. And how many “youth icons” could TV studios possibly manage to fit in?

Are the remaining comrades getting restless? With zero electoral prospects, are they getting ready to go the way of left-wing terrorists in Jharkhand or Chhattisgarh?

Now that would be chilling.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a columnist and author.  

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