Mamata sliding

Her fight for federalism has begun to look like an alibi for her incompetent state govt

Written by The Indian Express | Published: February 27, 2012 3:41 am

Her fight for federalism has begun to look like an alibi for her incompetent state govt

In the nine months since she sent the Left to the cleaners in West Bengal,Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s slogan of “Poriborton” is increasingly sounding hollow. The two most visible markers of Bengal’s changelessness are its legacy of political violence and her functioning style. The killings of two CPM leaders in Burdwan last week,the subsequent remarks suggesting justification from Banerjee,the decision of the police not to seek custody of those accused,underline both factors that refuse to change. Earlier this month,the rape of a woman in Kolkata’s Park Street had brought forth a similar display of callousness and arrogance from the CM.

The murder of the CPM leaders,allegedly at the hands of Trinamool workers,demonstrates once more just how deep the malaise runs. This violence entrenched itself during the long tenure of the Left Front and was adopted as the political modus operandi by both the CPM and Trinamool. However,the new government seems to have already belied the hopes it rode to power — to put an end to this sordid politics among others. The CM continues to operate in an oppositional mode,quick to blame any mishap or crime on a conspiracy to malign her government. She blamed the murders on the CPM’s “internal squabbles”,after her party leaders had pinned the same on “public outrage”. Somebody needs to tell Banerjee that there is a Rubicon between rabble-rousing in opposition and acting responsibly in government. All she needed to do was acknowledge that a gruesome incident had taken place and that the police would do their job.

Kolkata’s crime graph is rising,government hospitals are still nightmarish,investment and industry are steering clear of the state,and the government has been near-bankrupt from Day 1. Not keen on tackling these problems head-on,the CM expends her time and energy cornering the Central government,of which her party is a constituent,on every issue from FDI in retail to the NCTC. When Banerjee does spare a thought for her state,she officiously decides to paint its capital blue. Mamata Banerjee is right in telling the Centre to back off when federalism is under threat. Running a state government to the ground doesn’t federalism make.

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