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Tripura : Dear opposition, there is no crying in politics

When the results came out on Sunday, the TMC spent the day crying that there is no democracy in Tripura. News channels in West Bengal, most of which are part of the TMC’s machine, had to resort to hilarious tactics to cover for the Bengal CM’s loss of face.

Last week, elections were held for municipal bodies all across Tripura. The results were stark. The TMC, which have been very active in the state, got 1 seat, out of 334.

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As many as 329 seats for the BJP, just 3 for the Left Front and 1 for newcomer TMC. In the screenshot above, you can see Firhad Hakim, the mayor of Kolkata waving his finger at the media, telling them that there is “no democracy in Tripura.”

So what should we say here to the honourable mayor of Kolkata? How about something like Go Back, Mr Outsider? The TMC pioneered this politics. The TMC placed this politics at the heart of Indian liberalism, where anyone coming across state lines is vilified as an invader. Remember that the TMC’s campaign song “Khela Hobe” declared BJP’s “outsiders” as “Borgis” (robbers/plunderers)! The term is used in Bengali to refer to the Maratha attack on Bengal in the 1700s. So what should we label Firhad Hakim and other TMC leaders if they try to come to Tripura? Which invasion should we compare it to? You tell me.

To the media struggling to make sense of what just happened in Tripura, I have several things to say. First of all, congratulations on finally accepting Tripura as an integral part of the Republic of India. For most of you, the state did not even exist until March 3, 2018, when a BJP tsunami swept across the state, uprooting decades of Communist rule under Manik Sarkar. If I remember correctly, a statue of Lenin was vandalized the next day and all hell broke loose over “intolerance.”

Well, at least Tripura got some air time. The CPIM’s Manik Sarkar had built an economy with the highest unemployment in India, but that never made news. The only employer anywhere in Tripura was the state itself, but with zero economic activity, the state had no money to pay them. As a result, even as government employees everywhere else in India were paid as per 7th Pay Commission rates in 2018, state employees in Tripura were still stuck at 4th Pay Commission wages.

That’s right. State government employees in Tripura were earning 1983 wages in 2018. But that never came up in our media, presumably because the people of Tripura are not even citizens of India. Only a decrepit statue of Lenin somewhere in Agartala has rights. The statue may be a lifeless item with zero artistic value, but even Communist garbage can have the liberal privilege.

Oh, and because nothing else worked in the state of Tripura, the only real employers were drug lords from Myanmar, who used the state as a gateway to the rest of India. Again, the media probably never told you this. Just like they probably never told you about the woman’s skeleton found in 2005 inside the official residence of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar.

The media never told you how much Tripura was suffering under the CPI(M) boot. And now they make you wonder how the BJP swept 329 out of 334 municipal wards. And don’t let them tell you this happened because the TMC split the opposition vote. The BJP’s vote share in the 2018 Assembly win was 43%. This went up to 49% in the Lok Sabha 2019 election and finally to 59% in the just concluded local body elections.

In other words, TMC or no TMC, the BJP was poised to sweep the election. And the people of Tripura have just delivered an astonishing knock out punch to the imperialism of Mamata Banerjee. Just because most people in Tripura speak Bengali does not mean the tiny state must submit to the TMC. The Bengal CM was recently in Goa, where she reminded voters that Bengal is a “strong state.” Yeah, Goa maybe India’s richest state, but Bengal is “strong.” That’s textbook imperialism. Remember that it is Mamata Banerjee who mainstreamed this politics, urging Indians to label fellow Indians as “Borgis” as soon as they cross state lines.

But like any good imperialist, the Bengal CM does not recognize that other people have the same rights as she does. And therefore when the results came out on Sunday, the TMC spent the day crying that there is no democracy in Tripura. News channels in West Bengal, most of which are part of the TMC’s machine, had to resort to hilarious tactics to cover for the Bengal CM’s loss of face. The most pathetic of all was the time they spent interviewing the one TMC candidate out of 334 who managed to win. At least one channel began reading out the entire list of ward numbers where the TMC had managed to come in second place.

Her enablers in “national” media were not far behind. For a month now, they had turned the state govt of Tripura into an invented super villain, blamed for anything bad that happens anywhere. Who says you can’t blame the government of Tripura for violence in Amravati in Maharashtra? One ‘liberal’ news portal did a series of “stories” on how Tripura was burning and parked them all on their front page, especially when voting was in progress. But you see, my dear launderers, when outsiders pay, it is outsiders who are served.

In all the negative coverage that the liberal ecosystem gave to Tripura before and after the local body elections, they probably forgot the most important principle of all. Most ironically, it is a principle that Mamata Banerjee illustrated in Bengal. There is no crying in politics. The scoreboard reads 329 out of 334 for the BJP. Deal with it.

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

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