After living in this country for over six decades, I have no illusion that the Indian democracy is anything but for the rich, by the rich, and it feeds off the poor. It has always been like this, and we hardly see any light at the end of the tunnel.
But in West Bengal today, it is even worse: it is democracy for the goons and by the goons. Nowhere else in the country are voters openly threatened of physical violence as done by the illiterate and uncouth leaders of the ruling party in Bengal. (These are no empty threats - they are carried out regularly and with impunity.) And these criminals have the benevolent hand of the all-powerful chief minster on their head.
Already, the megalomaniac Chief minister of this state has destroyed as many institutions of democracy and governance as she could: from the Human Rights Commission to School Service Commission. The education system is in a shambles, it is controlled by ruling party goons and some spineless boot-licking teachers / administrators. The police machinery has been reduced to a bunch of personal valets of the ruling party. When a teen-age girl was raped and killed by ruling party goons in North Bengal for protesting against the humiliation of her father at a kangaroo court called by the ruling party, it was her father who was arrested. (The case has chilling similarity with the murder of Tapasi Malik, another brave girl who paid with her honour and life for protesting against CPM goons, who were in power in 2011. The CPM stooped to the level of accusing her father for her rape and murder). An ordinary housewife from Sattor was picked up from her home by police and ruling party goons, taken to a jungle and subjected to inhuman torture through the night. A few days later, the victim was arrested in a trumped up charge. These instances are not exceptions, they are the rule in Bengal today. Corruption is the only industry that thrives in Bengal today -- we have just seen almost the entire top brass of the ruling party pocketing wads of currency notes as bribe from a journalist masquerading as a businessman.
Are you a voter in the state? You would do a great disservice to the nine crore people of West Bengal if you didn't vote for anyone who had the best chance of defeating the ruling party candidate. Let the question "who shall I vote for?" not bother you. I am certainly not saying the opposition are angels. But at this hour of danger, what is important is who must go, not who might come in.
Please mark my words, if the present CM gets another term, in another five years, she will will have destroyed the state completely. Already, Bengal has been reduced to the state of Bihar under the worst days of Lalu-Rabri-Sadhu Yadav rule.
Kolkata / 16 April 2016