Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Friday for all

Friday is a lucky day for Mamata Banerjee. Apparently it has always been so, as the Newspapers say. 13 has turned out to be a lucky number for her too. It is the 13th year after she broke away from Congress to form her own party and continue her struggle against the CPM and the Left Front which ruled the state.
And on Friday, the13th May,2011 she achieved what she set out to do. She defeated the CPM led Left Front in the Assembly election convincingly. Her party, Trinamul Congress, and the allies got an overwhelming majority and ousted the CPM from power after a prolonged rule of 34 years.
She is undoubtedly the architect of this victory. People rallied around her, they responded to her call for 'change' and voted for her, her party and her allies. Even her detractors could not but admire her courage, her determination, her uncompromising and determined struggle against the CPM and as she never failed to point out, its misrule.
Now as the Chief Minister of West Bengal , a position she assumed last Friday (Friday again !), she has many challenges ahead, many expectations to fulfill but if one starts with the basics, she has to  deliver on the promise she has made to the people of restoration of the rule of law and peoples' faith in it and to run a government on the basis of policies and programmes framed, initiated and implemented by it in a transparent manner and not a government run by the party's diktats at all levels. She has repeatedly said  'Dalatantra noi, Ganatantra chai' . That is the 'change' she has talked of and if she has to bring that about, she has to ensure that her party functionaries at different levels do not fall prey to the lures of the same ' Dalatantra' that she opposed so vehemently, for power can be too tempting and leads easily to its abuse.
In a meeting with district police chiefs, the new CM has sent this message as reported in today's papers. She has asked them to maintain law and order at all costs and act impartially without bowing to any political pressure.She has also asked his party colleagues to ensure that there is no political interference in the work of the police and the administration. She is reportedly proposing a citizen's committee of eminent people for every police station to act as an interface between the police and the people of the area.
This, no doubt, is a good beginning but I hope she is talking not only of tackling political clashes and violence which is of course essential, but also of law and order in the broader sense encompassing such matters as regulating processions and rallies so that they do not block the flow of traffic, ensuring observance of traffic rules by both pedestrians and vehicular traffic, taking errant buses, minibuses and autos to task, not allowing organised groups to stop work or block roads on the slightest pretext or indulge in vandalism on roads, hospitals or educational institutions. There are many such things ( one can go on enlarging the list ) where a 'few' dictate terms to 'many', which are assumed to be and accepted as exercise of democratic rights in our culture but are really antithetical to true and proper democracy and they need to be set right.
It is a tall order and can not happen overnight but any visible steps in controlling the chaos that we witness  on a day-to day basis will go a long way in ushering in the 'change' that we believe she has been talking about and pave the way for development in the state. She is the unquestioned leader of her party and is already attaining an iconic status in the minds of the people which is evident from the frenzy of the crowd that collects wherever she goes - she can possibly take the tough, mostly non-populist decisions required to bring in this transformation.
History has given her the opportunity.


  1. Dwiju

    I can see people were looking for a change and they have managed to elect a leader who has the popular support.

    Being an outsider I have not followed WB politics but I am curious to know if there was an election mamifesto in which she has laid down clear policies, or change of policies, for that matter.

    On what basis educated people voted for her? Surely slogans do not create policies, do they? Or she will start thinking about policies now.


  2. Surprisingly, Mamata Banerjee came out with an election manifesto which was highly lauded by the media. I have not gone through it myself but what I gathered from the newspapers, it was not merely a set of election promises, but it laid down clear set of policies to be adopted and was a professional job. She has inducted some non political people like Amit Mitra, Secy. General of FICCI and an economist, Manish Gupta, a former Chief Secy and some others who all won and are now ministers in her cabinet.
    The educated class you refer to did have its reservations about her. She excelled in agitatational politics, but her adminstrative skill and acumen are not yet tested.Whatever she did as the Union Railway Minister, promising and initiating a no of projects in West Bengal, was seen more as populist measures to win the hearts of people here for the ensuing election ( in which she succeded ).But they could see that she had emerged as the only alternative to CPM domination in WB politics and many were prepared to give her a chance. What helped was her efforts to change her image to pro industry (not at the cost of the people ), pro democracy, pro good governance, no bundhs etc.