Stopping TMC feuds

For all the party supremo’s warnings and remonstrations, the feuds within the Trinamool Congress go on unabated. The victims are members of the rival faction, or their relations, or totally innocent people who have nothing to do with politics or, in some cases, members of the police force. Extortion or tolabaji has become rampant, so are the ‘armed struggles’ for area domination. Despite Mamata Banerjee’s stern warnings that these will not be tolerated, there is no sign of their abating. The impression that is growing in the public about the ruling party does not seem to be of any concern to these TMC ‘workers’. Because of their leader’s immense personal popularity and charisma, they seem to take the people for granted. Even the impending panchayat elections have not had any effect on their unruly behaviour.
No political party can take the people for granted. The CPI-M did so in West Bengal and had to pay the price. Complacency took hold of the party in Tripura and now it has paid the price for it. The story and its denouement will not be any different in West Bengal either, if the TMC leadership does not translate its warning into action by expelling the undesirable elements from the party. The TMC has so far been fortunate in that due to its wrong organizational policies and the strength and influence of the CPI-M is dwindling. The BJP in West Bengal also has not so far been able to present a leadership acceptable to the educated and cultured middle class people. The people have a natural aversion for crude language and insinuations.
But it will be a capital mistake for the TMC to believe that rival factions in the party can go on feuding, indulging in skirmishes and drawing blood for ever. The people are watching with disgust and disapproval. When they find an alternative – maybe, even without an acceptable alternative being in sight -- they will at some point make their disapproval known through the ballot box. The personal charisma of the leader will not be able to save the party. Mamata Banerjee is gradually emerging as the main spokesperson and the rallying point of the secular and democratic forces in the country. Some expect her to play a significant role in uniting anti-BJP forces before the next Lok Sabha elections. But everything will be ruined if her party lets her down. Can she purge the party ruthlessly of those elements which are bringing a bad name to her and to the party?

Monday, 12 March, 2018