Religion, communal polarisation main issues in West Bengal by-poll
Kanthi, April 07: Once a cradle of anti-land acquisition movement, East Midnapore district is all set to witness religion and communal polarization as the main issues in the coming by polls.
The four-cornered by-election in the district’s Kanthi Dakshin assembly seat will take place on April 9 and the counting will take place on April 13.
The by-election is being held after sitting legislature Dibyendu Adhikari’s election to Lok Sabha from Tamluk seat.
Apart from Trinamool Congress, Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and Left Front supported CPI candidate, a SUCI(C) candidate is also in fray.
According to both ruling Trinamool Congress and opposition Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and Left, the issue of appeasement politics and communal polarization will be the major factors in the by-poll in the Kathi Dakshin seat, which has 20 percent Muslim population.
The recent tussle between the Trinamool Congress government and the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS)-BJP combine over the Ram Navami rallies in the state is also likely to have an impact as Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS) has a strong organizational base in Midnapore area.
“The Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS)-BJP are trying to spread the poison of communalisation throughout the country and in Bengal, which has a glorious history of communal harmony. Our main issue is to defeat the vindictive and communal politics of Rashtriya Swayam Sevak and Bharatiya Janata Party,” Trinamool candidate and senior party leader Chandrima Bhattacharya said.
According to district Trinamool Congress leaders, the RSS and BJP for the past few months have been trying to incite communal passions and create awareness against the consumption of beef.
The recent spat in one of the schools in the district, where a headmaster was beaten up after he stopped a student from entering school in religious attire is an issue that both Bharatiya Janata Party and Trinamool Congress are trying to milk.
“Have you ever heard that in a primary or government school students come in their religious attire? The answer is no. But these things are happening in East Midnapore and if you protest police will take action against you and lodge false cases against you. The people are fed up with this appeasement politics,” Bhartiya Janata Party candidate Sourindra Mohan Jana told PTI.
The Congress and Left Front have, however, accused Bharatiya Janata Party and Trinamool Congress of being “hand in glove” and playing the politics of polarization in the state.
“The Bharatiya Janata Party and Trinamool Congress hand in glove. This is nothing but feeding each other with majority communalism and minority fundamentalism. They want to divide the votes along religious lines,” West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee president Adhir Chowdhury said.
Trinamool Congress appears to be in an advantageous position as the seat is considered the backyard of the East Midnapore strongman and state Transport minister Suvendu Adhikari. His brother Dibyendu had won the seat in 2016 by a margin of 28,000 votes.
The elections will see Left Front and Congress fighting on their own.
In the assembly elections in May last year, Left Front and Congress had fought unitedly against Trinamool Congress but failed to make much impact as the ruling party won 211 seats and the alliance just 76.