Ahead of the ongoing West Bengal Assembly elections, the ruling Trinamool Congress released a campaign video in March, making proud claims of the infrastructural and social developments it made in rural parts of Bengal in its five-year term. The background song is written and composed by reputed Bengali singer, Anupam Roy.
Focusing on the rural landscape in Bengal, the video starts off by asserting that the “the last five years have changed the face of Bengal”. It then goes on to claim that electricity and water is now available in all villages of Bengal, women empowerment has been achieved in these areas and that availability of educational and medical facilities have increased.
In August 2014, the World Bank and UNICEF had praised the Bengal government’s efforts at improving rural water supply management. However, significant areas of Bengal still fail to receive adequate water supply.
Binpur, an assembly segment in Jangalmahal, is one such village that faces acute water scarcity. The inhabitants of the village said that shortage of water and toilets makes it difficult for students to go to school.
Women’s safety has been a matter of serious concern in the past couple of years. In March 2015, Nadia district had claimed that the monthly average rape record is 17. The case of a ‘Kangaroo court’ in a remote tribal village of Bengal ordering the rape of a 20-year-old woman for falling in love outside her community had created national and international outrage.
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The video released by TMC also insists that there is peace in Jangalmahal after the Mamata-led government came to power in Bengal. The village that was once one of the worst Maoist-affected zones, voted in the election on April 16.
Inhabitants of the village claimed the biggest change that has come about in the village after the TMC came to power is that they could vote freely without instances of violence. The peaceful elections carried out at Jangalmahal definitely point towards a legitimate achievement made by the TMC.
Further, the campaign video asserts that communal peace has been achieved in Bengal under Mamata Banerjee’s leadership. This claim, however, appears a bit dubious in light of the recent riots in Malda district of North Bengal. The communal riots, allegedly triggered by a derogatory remark made by a leader of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, had made national headlines in January 2016.
The video ends with a showcase of happy faces in Bengal who appear content with the governance of the state government in the past five years.