Monday, January 16, 2006

Communists gear up for elections

The communists have begun prepartions for the elections in earnest. A policeman known to be close to the Communists has been appointed in a key post. The Communists are clamping down on criticism: there is an unoffical ban on a serial about an Orwellian state run by an all powerful party.

State police exists only to serve party (The Pioneer reuses URL's, link might not work)

State police exists only to serve party

Udayan Namboodiri / Kolkata

"The Left Front Government has won the last six Assembly elections with your help. I am sure that the same help will be extended by you during the coming election and the Left Front will again emerge victorious. Of course, I know that I should not speak out in such a manner."

The man who said these words was no less than former Chief Minister of West Bengal Jyoti Basu. He was inaugurating the annual conference of the Non-Gazetted Police Karmachari Samity, a frontal organisation of the CPI (M) which covers all policemen up to the rank of sub-inspector in West Bengal Police.

Just two days later, Basu's successor and toast of the Left-Liberal media for his "reformist zeal", Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, attended the closing ceremony of the same conference. Though it was a closed-door session, his words leaked out to the Bengali media.

He was quoted as calling upon the last few members of the rival union, the Bengal Police Association, to join the Marxist fold. As allurement, he held out the promise of more benefits covering housing, post-retirement and insurance.

When the news item was published in a few papers, the Chief Minister did not bother to issue a rejoinder. In fact, after 28 years of unchallenged rule, the Marxist Government hardly cares to deny the worst kept secret of Bengal: the total subordination of the State's police to the ruling party. Just six months earlier, on June 19, policemen posted outside a booth in Salt Lake City on the day of the civic elections manhandled Basu's long-time aide, Joykrishna Ghosh in a case of mistaken identity. The nonagenarian, in his rage, blurted out: "Our police has hit our boys. This is unthinkable".

The blurring of the dividing line between police and party is an accepted fact of life here. The resentment of the ordinary Bengali to the failure of the most visible institution of the Indian State is captured evocatively in a TV serial now showing each evening on Zee Bangla channel.

Titled Tamashar Pare, it depicts a society totally controlled by the "party" through local committee honchos, policemen and politically powerful anti-socials. Startled by the popularity of the serial directed by Arghya Kamal Mitra, the "party" (no prizes for guessing which one) has imposed an unofficial ban on cable operators. In many parts of the State, Zee Bangla is simply not accessible between 8.30pm and 9 pm.

But TV serial or no TV serial, the Marxist establishment is taking no chances in an election year. Loyal officers are being strategically placed to ensure that the party's rigging machinery can work unhindered by extraneous intervention in the form of zealous Election Commission (EC) observers. For, after all, in election time central observers and paramilitary forces would all be under the executive control of the local police chief.

The most brazen manifestation of the Buddhadeb regime's resolve to use the police for ensuring a seventh straight term is the manner in which it has re-employed Chayan Mukherjee. This officer retired as Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) and spokesperson of the force on October 31, 2005. He was promptly given a six-month contract as OSD, Coordination. Nobody who knows Mukherjee's past is surprised. As a serving officer, his chief function had been to identify and engage key subordinates for lubricating the party's awesome vote-manipulation system. Now, after superannuation, he would be able to serve his political masters better.

The EC's team, which is now touring the State, is giving sound-bytes to the local media about the possibility of a "new" kind of election, whenever it is held. One promise that is more or less iterating in their statements is that the election will be staggered over at least three phases to facilitate better policing by paramilitary forces. They have also indicated that the work of collecting and assessing intelligence ahead of the elections would not be left with the local police. Earlier, the police earmarked certain booths as "sensitive" which always turned out to be peaceful ones. That helped the Marxists rig the poll better.



At 12:23 AM, Blogger Aditya K said...

A truly sad state of affairs. West Bengal needs a credible political force to dislodge the communists from power.

At 1:07 AM, Blogger Intuitive Investigator: The Maverick Recusant said...

Lets hope tht K J Rao does something. Frustrating to see media go completely silent about it. By the way, why isnt the BJP doing any dharna, strike of any protest to expose this. A lot stills seems to be shrouded in mystery.


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