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I worry about Yogendra Yadav’s mental health and his The Print article on the 2021 Bengal elections proves I am not wrong

My concern for Yogendra Yadav's mental health has only peaked. He could not hack it as a psephologist or a career-protestor. If he cannot even write a decent opinion piece without sounding unhinged and monumentally stupid - what does he do next?

The West Bengal Assembly elections are only weeks away and with the admittedly meteoric rise of the Bhartiya Janta Party in the state, it is not difficult to imagine the absolute and thorough panic attacks that the entire ecosystem might be experiencing. Mind you, there is absolutely no guarantee that BJP will be able to clinch a decisive victory in the state, but the rise, the sheer rise has sent certain elements within the ecosystem into a rather strange spiral into madness. One such panic attack was detailed in The Print, owned by Shekhar Gupta, written by our very own Icchadhari protestor, Yogendra Yadav.

Article by Yogendra Yadav on Bengal elections in The Print
Article by Yogendra Yadav in The Print

In this unhinged ramblings of a presumably mad man, Yogendra Yadav, who seems to have made the switch from a newly anointed farmer leader to a political analyst yet again, essentially tells people that they need to be scared about the 2021 Bengal elections, not because who might win in the end, but what the process of these elections would do to the state.

In a stunning display of just what an abomination one man can be and also, how incompetent (considering before turning into an Icchadhari protestor, he used to be a failed psephologist), he truly is, Yogendra Yadav has this to say:

Article by Yogendra Yadav on Bengal elections in The Print
Article by Yogendra Yadav on Bengal elections in The Print

He first says that BJP has an ‘outside chance’ of winning Bengal since it did rather badly in the last assembly elections. He then says that there might also be a situation where they come “so close, yet so far” and hence, could essentially indulge in violence. First and foremost, this article gives me a better understanding of why Yogendra Yadav was compelled to turn into an Icchadhari protester – there is absolutely no chance he could have made a successful career in psephology with such idiotic statements. Secondly, it gives us a peek into the beating his mental health seems to have taken over the years – changing careers ever so often can possibly lead to some form of cognitive dissonance that we see a reflection of here.

Beyond the jibes, however, it is essential to understand how Bengal politics work. When the TMC routed the Communists, it was following the exact trajectory that BJP has followed. A terrible assembly performance, followed by a decent electoral performance and culminating in a clean sweep of the state. Electoral politics isn’t like solving a simple equation where LHS equals RHS. It is not about Lok Sabha seats translating to Assembly seats to the decimal.

But, of course, the beautiful mind of Yogendra Yadav is perhaps too fried to grasp such nuanced concepts – or perhaps – this is just him being devious. I leave that decision to the readers.

Essentially, Yogendra Yadav started by saying that BJP has had a meteoric rise in the state. He then went on to say that they have no chance of winning the state and ended with “it might be a close fight and hence, they might indulge in violence”. A mark of a good psephologist – all outcomes laid out neatly, so matter what the result is – he gets to say ‘I told you so’.

What comes next is far more hilarious.

Yogendra Yadav lists 4 possibilities that he seems to be paranoid about:

  1. Raj Bhavan turning into a BJP HQ because the current governor is partisan. This would, according to him, result in a slugfest to control the local bureaucracy.
  2. Yogendra Yadav says that the credibility of EC is compromised in the eyes of the public and in this election, its neutrality matters the most (it does in every election, but then again, this article has been written by Yogendra Yadav). He further says that “this is where the Commission might come under pressure from the ruling party the most” – he does not explain the logic behind this tenuous conjecture.
  3. The central government might be tempted into using the powers at its disposal to neutralise the strong-arm tactics of the TMC cadre on the ground, for which the BJP has no match at this moment. There are fears of blatant partisanship on polling day.
  4. He says that “BJP has already begun and is likely to pour money on a scale that West Bengal has never known before”.
  5. Divisive politics

Now, let us briefly analyse Yogendra’s worries one by one.

1. Raj Bhavan acting partisan is a silly conjecture that must be summarily ignored. According to the cabal, he is being partisan because he does not stay mum about the violence being unleashed by TMC.

2. The article does not exactly clear how the EC would likely be under more pressure from the government when he says that this is an election where EC’s neutrality would matter the most. But as I said earlier, Yogendra Yadav is a mindless rabble-rouser. For him, the logic of his argument does not really matter as long as it leads to chaos. Sadly, we can’t really compare him to The Joker either, because the latter actually had the luxury of being extremely intelligent.

3. In this argument, Yogendra Yadav is actually worried about the central government using “its powers” to counter the violence by TMC. Let me get this straight – Yogendra Yadav is worried that the central government might try and stop TMC from using violence. Ah! This suddenly all makes sense. This article is meant to be a foundation for the cabal to scream about how the elections are being “rigged” if the paramilitary forces, 150 units of which have already landed in Bengal – try and ensure free and fair elections without interference by other parties. So Yogendra Yadav here admits that TMC will indulge in violence on polling day, but is worried that the central government will use its powers to stop the violence and hence, he thinks polling day would end up being ‘partisan’.

4. Yogendra is extremely worried that BJP will spend bundles of money in West Bengal – he has no proof for it, but he is worried nonetheless. He is willing to ignore the several documented cases of voters being paid off by the TMC, Congress, AIMIM and the Communists, but he is fearful about the BJP.

5. And thus, we come to his favourite schtick – communal politics. Mamata Banerjee screaming bloody murder when she hears Jai Shree Ram is not communal politics. Mamata Banerjee’s various minority appeasement schemes are not communal politics. Owaisi talking against Hindus is not communal politics. BJP chanting Jai Shree Ram is. Sure!

Essentially, in this article, Yogendra Yadav is dog-whistling. He is laying down every asinine argument that would be used by his cabal to cry hoarse after the Assembly Elections. If the BJP makes inroads or wins, they would say it was because BJP bought the votes, the EC was partisan, the governor was partisan and the Modi government crushed dissent with paramilitary forces (this would of course mean that the forces did not let TMC, Congress or the Left indulge in violence and rig the elections).

Frankly, I don’t disagree with him as far as his basic premise goes. No matter who wins, the process of elections in West Bengal has always been a concern. In the 1972 elections that he alludes to at the beginning of his article, Congress and CPI won the assembly elections, riding on the popularity gained by Indira Gandhi post the 1972 Bangladesh liberation war. the CPIM lost miserably. However, there were several allegations of rigging. There was gunfire, unbridled violence to either stop people from voting or force them to vote the Congress way.

In a Telegraph article, it is noted:

“There was gunfire and bombing. The Congress had taken complete control of the election set-up and was freely rigging the polls,” said Gopal Banerjee, 56, a CPM leader from Baranagar who had accompanied Basu on a round of the constituency as an 18-year-old that day. “Jyotibabu visited a few polling stations and decided to withdraw his candidature. ‘This cannot be tolerated,’ he told us,” Banerjee said.

While blood has always flown cheap in Bengal and political violence has been rampant, it was peachy to think of Jyoti Basu pontificating about it. To put it mildly, Jyoti Basu is the mass murderer that India forgot. in 1997, Bengal’s Home Minister admitted on the floor of the Assembly that 28,000 political murders had happened in West Bengal since the beginning of Jyoti Basu’s rule. And who can forget the Marichjhapi massacre? Deep Haldar, who wrote a book on the massacre says in an interview, “Why the government suddenly became desperate to send refugees back to Dandakaranya remains a mystery. Jyoti Basu was like a dictator. He probably couldn’t digest the fact that they were disobeying his orders. It was his hurt ego, nothing else”. In the massacre, thousands were murdered, raped, buried at sea, humiliated and driven off. It was all done under the watchful eyes of Jyoti Basu.

Essentially, Bengal politics has always been marred by violence – blood-curdling violence.

Only 2 years before the 1972 elections in Bengal that Yogendra Yadav remembers with such fear, a mother being force-fed rice soaked in her son’s blood. In 1970, the Sain Parivar was a prominent family in Bardhaman which supported the Congress party. The family had refused to join the Communists despite the numerous threats that were issued and for their conviction, they suffered ruin.

On 17th March 1970, a mob of CPI(M) workers, allegedly led by a man who went on to become a Minister in the state no less, barged into the house, set it on fire and committed one of the most horrendous crimes in the history of Indian politics. Two brothers of the family, Pranab Kumar Sain and Malay Kumar Sain were hacked to death in front of the family members.

A private tutor, Jitendranath Rai, who had come to teach the kids in the family was hacked to death as well. Later, the mother of the slain brothers was forced to eat rice smeared with the blood of her dead sons. Words cannot ever capture the horror that transpired in Sainbari that day.

One of the daughters-in-law of the family, Rekha Rani, now around 75 years old, recounted the horrors of the incident in an interview with Indian Express. She said, “My brothers-in-laws Pranab Kumar Sain and Malay Kumar Sain and Jitendranath Rai, a private tutor who had come to teach the kids, were hacked in front of my eyes. I was 26. It all began at 7.30 am… people started pelting stones at our house. Later, they set it on fire.” “My mother-in-law, Mrignayana Devi, tried to stop the attackers but she was hit on her head. Two attackers mixed Pranab and Malay’s blood with rice and forced it into her mouth… She was taken to the hospital… she survived,” she added.

This was only two years before the assembly elections, that Yogendra Yadav speaks of. However, he fails to mention it. He says that 1972 was a blot on the other clean record of West Bengal holding fair elections. Fair? What was the attempt here, one wonders? My readers know for a fact that I have absolutely no love lost for the Congress, but to blame Congress for the start of political violence in Bengal is deceitful, to say the least. The communists started the cycle of violence that has continued to this day. That Yogendra Yadav refuses to mention the trail of blood that has been left in Bengal, makes him either stupid, ignorant or plain malicious.

While whitewashing the atrocities heaped by the Communists, Yogendra Yadav also whitewashes the TMC and, lo and behold, ends up expressing his ‘worry’ about what the BJP might do in the state in its “desperation” to win Bengal.

These arguments are mundane and expected and therefore, my concern for Yogendra Yadav’s mental health has only peaked. He could not hack it as a psephologist. He could not cover his tracks in the Delhi Riots. In the farmer protests, he was tossed aside like a rotten fish by the Modi government and ended up with egg on his face when his comrades indulged in rampant violence. If he cannot even write a decent opinion piece without sounding unhinged and monumentally stupid – what does he do next?


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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, since October 2017

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