With the State Assembly elections knocking at the doors, politicians in West Bengal have been moving heaven and earth to woo their voters, In such an attempt, Asima Patra, the minister of Technical Education in Mamata Banerjee’ cabinet and a member of the Legislative Assembly for Dhaniakhali since 2016, visited her constituency ahead of the much-awaited upcoming elections in the state. But, unfortunately, instead of a favourable reception, the minister had to face the ire of the locals in her constituency.
Infuriated by the laxity shown by Asima Patra towards her own constituency, the locals threatened to beat her up with brooms.
In the video of the incident shared by a Bangla news channel, the MLA is seen screaming at a group of people who surround her and threaten her to leave or face the ire of the locals. “Ekdom katha bolbena… record hobe, shabh record hobe” (Do not say a word, we will record, everything will be recorded), a local can be heard shouting.
According to the news channel, the incident happened when a youth started recording the heated exchange of words between the MLA and the locals. The local voters blamed the MLA for neglecting her constituency for the last two years, only to appear before the elections and ask for votes.
The MLA asked the young man to stop recording the interaction. In the video, she is seen threatening him with dire consequences if he does not put his phone away. It is here when the locals start shouting at Mamata Banerjee’s minister asking her to leave or else face public fury. “Dekha jabe ke kake dekhbe” (we will see who sees whom), cries out an angry local responding to the MLA’s threats.
“Daush bachar diye kichu kaaj hoyeni, aakhun vote samay kaaj dekhate aische…jhainta bar kor jhainta..” (no wrok has been done in the last 10 years, now when they want votes they are talking about development… take out the brooms), says a local, forcing the MLA to leave.
The West Bengal Assembly election is no less than a full-fledged war for Mamata Banerjee, who is struggling to remain relevant in the country’s politics. The incumbent TMC has the Bharatiya Janata Party breathing down its neck at a time when it is plagued by internal feuds, large-scale defections by leaders and workers and allegations of widespread corruption. There is also a strong anti-incumbency sentiment working against it.
In such a situation, the edgy West Bengal CM has been making every effort to woo the West Bengal voters, be it by leaning on to a pro-Hindutva image by reciting the ‘Chandi Path’, ‘Durga Path’ or the ‘Jagannath mantra’, or releasing the party manifesto on Shivratri or by promising an overdose of freebies and doles.
However, the large dole she has been consistently handing out to local clubs, Durga puja committees and Muslim clerics have left the state’s coffers dry. Bengal today, is under a debt burden of nearly Rs 5 lakh crore that is only increasing.
Given the precarious state of Bengal’s finances, it will be nearly impossible for Banerjee to implement her poll promises. That is if she manages to overcome rising anti-incumbency and people’s fury against the party’s appeasement politics, corruption and public anger over lack of development.