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Muslims hold a political veto in Bengal, they decide who will rule and who will not: Swapan Dasgupta

Overall, BJP has not been able to take influential Bengalis under its influence, said Swapan Dasgupta

Exactly a year ago in West Bengal, some were celebrating their victory while many were losing the battle of life. At some places, green gulal was flying, while at other places people were bleeding red. Some were celebrating the victory, while many were being robbed of the very basic human respect.

2nd May 2021 – Many people’s lives came to a standstill on this day. These people are from a state named West Bengal, one of the largest states in India, the world’s largest democracy. This is a state where people had to flee to another state to save their lives just because they exercised their right to vote. On that day when the rulers of democracy were winning, democracy itself lost. The real flag-bearers of democracy, the people, were being trampled upon because they dared to vote against the party that won.

People below the age of 40, who didn’t have any idea about the atrocities committed during the emergency, got a glimpse of it in Bengal last year. What was done in West Bengal after 2nd May 2021 was the Emergency of 21st century India. Mamata Banerjee’s government can give a million clarifications about it, but every excess by state-sponsored goons, every murder, every loot is recorded. Mamata Banerjee will not be allowed to forget this easily no matter how loudly her party’s leaders shout.

OpIndia had a long conversation with Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta regarding Bengal politics and the Bengali society today.

Question: BJP did not do anything for the workers of Bengal or did not do as much as it should have – this allegation is made even by the fans of BJP on Twitter and Facebook. Your reaction to this.

Answer: It’s true. This violence was unexpected. Nobody expected it. There is victory and defeat in elections, but the way violence started right from the counting centers has never been seen before. To date, this has not been seen anywhere in India. The BJP workers or even the organization were not prepared for this level of violence, this allegation is absolutely true.

There have been attacks on our workers. Close to 50,000 workers had to be homeless. Close to 20 people were murdered. During all this, our organization could not help its workers in the slightest. Even after trying a lot, we have not been able to send even 5-10 thousand rupees to our workers in many places. Politically we are failing on this front, I accept that.

Question: Violence after the West Bengal assembly elections – what do you think was its political meaning or message?

Answer: The violence that started on the afternoon of May 2, 2021, had only one objective – to break the backbone of the BJP organization. BJP got 38% votes, the Majority of the Hindu vote was in favor of the BJP, which means the support of a large percentage of voters was with us. Therefore, the aim was to create such an environment using violence that in the future, support for BJP should be eliminated, and the backbone of the organization should be broken. The fear should be such that the supporters of the BJP do not come out of the house and the same thing happened.

You could see that fear in the by-elections that were held after the 2021 assembly elections in West Bengal, the municipal elections that were held. In these elections, in many places, BJP members did not even go to file nominations. You can understand this with an example. Bolpur is a small town, adjacent to Shantiniketan. In the assembly elections, the BJP had a majority in the municipal area there. Now when municipal elections were held there, none of our candidates even filed their nominations.

These are all small examples. But the reality is that in many places where BJP had won, the organization can’t even manage a booth now. The morale of BJP workers is very low. Many of them also ask what the central government is doing since we have a government at the center. But the state has to see law and order, the central government cannot do anything in this regard even if it wants. If the High Court had not taken cognizance, nothing would have happened, no action would have been taken.

BJP as an organization has had a big impact in West Bengal. But it is also true that the atmosphere of violence that was created has had a definite reaction. BJP will have to work as an organization gradually from now on. Increasing the morale of the workers will be the biggest task for BJP, their morale is broken at this time. These workers need a capable leader and political will.

Question: From the country’s capital and center of trade, from the center of literature and revolution to the current state, how do you see Bengal’s decline, how much of it is political, and how much of it is social?

Answer: This decline is political as well as social. This decline began in the 60s with the Naxalite movement and CPM politics. Whatever happened in the last 50-60 years, the effect of that is now clearly visible in front of us. The economic exodus from Bengal is evident for everyone to see. Bengal used to be the leader in industry and business earlier, back then Calcutta was like Bombay. Where have we reached now? Durga Puja, Holidays, Festivals, that is all. You can call every city of Bengal a ‘City of Festivals’ but you cannot call any city here a ‘City of Production’.

The decline of industry in Bengal will have an impact on the culture, and the creative potential of the people will be affected by this. It is not that the creative potential of the people living in Bengal is completely exhausted. But it is also true that even 50% of its potential is not utilized in such an environment. When there is an atmosphere of peace in the state, only then the development and expansion of art and culture are possible. All these good administrative points are lacking in Bengal.

What started at the political level in West Bengal in the 60s, now has impacted the entire social life here. The sad part is that if this kind of politics continues for a few more days, the rest of society will also crumble.

Question: How do you see the Hindu-Muslim equation due to the demographic change in Bengal or the hatred for Hindus in some areas?

Answer: It cannot be denied that this is happening in Bengal. 30% of the total population there are Muslims (some say 23%, some 25%, but 30% if the voting figures are to be considered). The border districts adjoining Bangladesh, such as Nadia, Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Malda, and a large part of South 24 Parganas, all have become completely Muslim dominated.

There are 2 reasons behind this: First reason is illegal infiltration from Bangladesh in the 1990s and 2000s due to the politics of the CPM. The second reason is that many Bengalis left West Bengal and migrated to other states in search of good work and good facilities. Today there are 12 lakh Bengalis in Bangalore, Delhi is also full of Bengalis. This is a small example. What is the reason for this? What is the reason that most of the Bengali Hindus have migrated from West Bengal?

Apart from these two reasons, there is also a third problem – Rohingyas. A large number of Rohingya infiltrators are also coming and settling in Bengal. Combining all this, the demography of West Bengal has changed and deteriorated to a great extent.

Why was West Bengal formed? Earlier it was United Bengal, then why did the partition happen? Think about it. In East Bengal, the population of Hindus was 30%, today we are not even 10% there. So where did this 20% Hindu population go? Most of them came to West Bengal. Why did they come? Because those people thought it was their homeland. Bengali Hindus should get land to live in, this was the reason why Shyama Prasad Mukherjee demanded the partition of Bengal. West Bengal was created on the basis of this thinking, but alas, this original idea of ​​’West Bengal, the home of Bengali Hindus’ is getting destroyed today. This is happening only because of the demographic change. How big a problem is a demographic change, can be understood from Assam. In the 80-and 90s, there was such a big movement about it there.

If we look at the political aspect of the demographic change in West Bengal, today there is a political veto of the Muslim community. This means that it is the Muslim community that decides who will rule, and how. This also means that Mamata Banerjee may be ruling, there may be 10 more Bengali Hindu ministers, but the one who will be driving them from the backroom will be the Muslim community. Understand this with a small example, in Kolkata, you can see Muslim boys riding bikes without helmets, but the police do not stop them. This politics has created a similar environment in the entire West Bengal.

Question: You yourself have been associated with the media. In such a situation, what should be the government’s initiatives regarding reduced coverage of crimes like rapes and murders? The Additional Solicitor General of the Calcutta High Court even asked the Times of India to apologize for its coverage of the Bengal violence. Your response to these media houses/journalists.

Answer: The media in Bengal today is not free media, even though there is no gun trained on the media there. These people do not hide the truth or news because of the fear of guns, but they hide it because of money. The government gives money to media houses, and according to the government, the news is reported. This practice has far-reaching consequences. Suppose a historian is collecting information about Bengal violence in the future, what will he find? When he looks at the current news and newspapers, he will think ‘nothing major happened, some minor incidents happened.’

Today in the Bengal media you will find that there is a competition over Mamata Banerjee, who is publishing her photo on the front page the most. Look at another example, it was decided by the center government to install the statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in front of India Gate. This is a big deal for the sentiment of Bengalis. But forget the front page of the biggest English newspaper of West Bengal, this news did not find a place even on the 10th page of the paper. This is because it was the decision of the Modi government. This is the state of the Bengali media. There is no free media, in fact, it is not even the media, they are just typists for the state government.

Question: This question is related to the media, truth, history, writing etc. When the liberal lobby attacked Vikram Sampath, you wrote an article in The Times of India. When the history of Bengal violence will be written, will the nationalist army of historians be ready by then or will they continue to bear the onslaught of the woke people because they are fewer in number?

Answer: The nationalists have progressed a lot today if we look through the political lens. It is true, however, that the intellectual consciousness or influence inspired by nationalist thinking is still lacking. This is a matter of concern and we should think about why this happened? Even today the Liberal/Left/woke etc. have control over the so-called intellectual institutions. In such a situation, it becomes our duty to recognize our shortcomings and prepare our people.

Why did the Liberals attack Vikram Sampath? It happened because he wrote such a history from a nationalist angle which cannot be denied. The liberals/leftists thought what will a nationalist, right-wing writer write, but Vikram Sampath wrote such a unique account that it could not be dismissed. If it had been written poorly, surely he would not have been paid so much attention and the left would have ridiculed it.

This is the mindset of the Liberals/Left regarding nationalist thinking and the people associated with it. Vikram Sampath stumped them when he wrote this brilliantly refined book that was irrefutable, so he was attacked by these so-called intellectuals (liberals/leftists).

We should learn from this episode. If we really want to hurt the strongest of the Liberals/Leftists, we have to strengthen ourselves intellectually and control our so-called intellectual institutions.

Question: You talked about the reaction to the politics of violence and the atmosphere arising out of it in West Bengal. The people of Bengal want to change, this was said by a representative of the RSS. As a BJP leader or a Member of the Parliament, what will be the roadmap for this change, how will BJP come to power?

Answer: First of all you should know that BJP is a new party in Bengal. You can see the journey of the BJP across India since the days of Jan Sangh. But in Bengal, it cannot be called even 3-4 years old party. In the true sense, the impact that a party should have, the leadership that should be seen, BJP in Bengal has not yet reached that level. We have to create leadership in Bengal.

In the 2021 West Bengal Assembly elections, the BJP got overwhelming support in rural areas. But in urban areas, which Bengalis call Bhadralok, this support was lacking, absolutely zero. Kolkata and the surrounding areas, such as Kolkata, Howrah etc, there are 109 seats, which is called the old Presidency Division. Here BJP could get only 1-2 seats. This means that our impact on the so-called intelligentsia or on people who are opinion makers is negligible. Overall, BJP has not been able to take influential Bengalis under its influence.

This is a big project for BJP in West Bengal. Talking about the organizational level, we have a lot of support among people like OBC Bengalis, SC-ST etc but it is absent in urban areas. Muslims in West Bengal start with a 30% voting veto, so BJP will have to take everyone else along. Therefore, the project to connect the urban areas of Bengal, the influential Bengali, so-called intelligentsia, is of paramount importance to the BJP.

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