Greatest exercise of democracy
Election is the greatest exercise in democracy.And the communist party in west bengal is adamant to make sure that they carry out this exercise in a way like no other government(they do have some competition from the neighbour though)
Here is picture from a local newspaper revealing as to how extraordinary this local governing bodies election was!
Surprised?Yes you probably would be.What is more surprising is that they have been doing it year after year and yet outside West Bengal very few people know about it.And this is exactly how even after dismal performences Communist parties have managed to stay in power for more than 25 years.They have ruled,and countless people have shed thier bloods.
Anyway,considering the track record of Communist parties in Russia,China and elsewhere this is not surprising.Democracy and Communism aren’t the best of friends.Are they?
Below i am quoting an Article from The Statesman
Every child in West Bengal, aged over 10, has immediate perception of vote fraud. Come an election, the CPI-M’s “motorbike brigade” patrols the countryside, their leaders send tatters of white linen, symbol of Hindu widowhood, to the contestants’ wives with the tag: “Stop your husband from submitting the nomination paper, or prepare to be his widow”. The CPI-M cadres scare off their opponents with threats of gang-rape of their women. The voters are told to stay away from the polling booths, and leave it to the cadres to stand in for them, “or vote in front of us if you insist”.
True, in some areas of Kolkata fraud does not take this form, but one can view its footage on TV – of the last municipal election in Salt Lake City, for example, where the district magistrate and a police chief looked on as passive bystanders, while gangsters spewing filth drove away the genuine voters. Nor do you need to go deep into the villages to find evidence of fraud. Go to Bijpur, a bustling town, barely a couple of kilometres from Kanchrapara Rail Station, where almost the entire electorate stands disenfranchised. Indeed, the Jungle Raj – characterised by the politics of arson, rape and murder – has played havoc all across the state today.
The first massive ballot rigging in Bengal started during Siddhartha Sankar Ray’s years in power. I used to live then at Nagerbazar, Dum Dum. The booth at which I was registered was shuttered by 11 am, ”since all the ballots have been cast”. However, what happened then was a peanut in comparison with what is happening now. The Left Front has had all the time in the world to cleanse the voting process.
The late Promode Dasgupta, secretary of the CPI-M, preferred to set up instead what he called the “election machinery” – rigging machinery to be sure. The machinery now operates at all levels of the electoral process, right from voter enrolment down to vote counting. The most sinister part of it is its reliance on hundreds of toughs, whom the party has to bring up as such. That is, the party has a vested interest in Bengali character assassination. Here is an example.
The CPI-M’s student wing – the Students’ Federation of India – is said to have over a million members, concentrated in the colleges and universities. The SFI wins numerous students’ union elections unopposed every year, replicating the CPI-M’s victory at the panchayat poll in 2003. D Bandyopadhyay, a former Land Reforms Commissioner, says concerning the panchayat election: “Obviously the figure of 6,800 for 2003 is a gross statistical aberration. This statistically aberrant position tends to substantiate the opposition charge that so many of their candidates were physically prevented from filing nominations”. In 2003, again, Garhbeta College (West Midnapore), among many others, “required” no election as the opponents of the SFI “had failed” to put up any candidate for the 33 seats. This “failure” puts democracy at risk, for how come, after so many years of CPI-M rule, no students want to oppose its affiliate?
The SFI’s clash with the Students’ Forum at the election at the Law College attached to the North Bengal University in October 2001 shows how it ensures uncontested victories. Shortly before the election, the SFI started “bombing”, seriously injuring two members of the Forum. They were taken to hospital. Four SFI workers, bombs in hand, were arrested on the hospital compound. The SFI leaders flocked the court when the accused were brought there. Concerned over the fact that those who should train as keepers of the law were allegedly getting practice in breaking it, the SDJM refused bail.
An incident at Gurudas College, Kolkata, shows how the SFI bolsters its numbers. On August 2002, one of its students, Shampa Dasgupta, was arrested. Police suspected this sickly girl to be in touch with the People’s War group, for she had tried to get an idea of the living conditions of poor villagers. After her arrest, the students rushed to join the SFI, fearing that anyone who dared to oppose the “SFI here might be branded a Naxalite and put behind bars like Shampa”.
A newspaper reported: “A grievance cell, recently set up by the college authorities, is flooded with complaints of atrocities and even extortion by the SFI”. A student complained, “The SFI leaders sat next to the cashier inside the office room collecting the subscription of Rs 30 for their fund. When I refused to pay, they shooed me away before I could submit my papers”.
Thus trained, the students, like the youths of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, form an important part of the CPI-M’s election machinery. A section of the Bengali press, close to the CPI-M, reported before the Lok Sabha poll in 2004 that the party was drawing up a list of one lakh students that would ensure the CPI-M’s victory at the hustings. The president of the SFI, however, noted that election duty put off some of his peers. “But this time every student must bend his energies unreservedly to securing victory for the LF. Indeed, we are going to commit our entire vote machinery to this purpose”. Judge now what kind of democratic values the president of the SFI and his one lakh colleagues are imbibing, with a compliant police force and committed bureaucracy at their back. If this is not character assassination, what is?
However, most of the vote-riggers, aged between and 18 and 40, are jobless school-dropouts, who are generally guided by someone like hatkata Dilip (Banerjee). Transport minister, Subhas Chakraborty, came close to admitting that Dilip was released from jail shortly before the last parliamentary poll – but not at his instance. Dilip’s wife, Baisakhi, told newspapermen that it was the CPI-M leaders that had made her husband what he was. They had used him in vote-rigging, extortion, murder and what have you, in their own interest, but chucked him out when he needed their help. “Where is Subhasda now”, she asked, “who promised Dilip all help whenever he needed it? Well, I hate the political leaders, having closely observed them. I am sure Dilip in his condemned cell hates them too. The goons who operate in public suffer: those who manipulate them from behind do not. Isn’t that a shame?”
The end to the shame is not in sight. In the horrific maelstrom caused by democratic institutions being used to subvert democracy, and squabbles within the ruling party getting increasingly bloodier, people in the countryside in particular are clueless as to their security. Take the case of Adikondo Dolui, a “job assistant” of the panchayat at Birsachak (Midnapore), who sided with the Mahajot (Grand Alliance) against the CPI-M. When a Mahajot leader was killed in a fracas with the CPI-M, Adikondo, among others of his ilk, joined the CPI-M-led Co-ordination Committee. The “original cadres”, however, continued to bicker with them. After the murder of a leader of the other faction, they targeted Adikondo, who sheltered in a local schoolteacher’s house. He was hounded out, doused with petrol, and set on fire – in front of policemen in uniform. As Adikondo was burning alive, his wife Bijalibala rushed to the spot and cried: “What’s burning there?” A policeman answered: “O, just a dog”.
Clearly, being on the side of the CPI-M does not ensure security any more. Two, Alimuddin Street inspires little loyalty among its 2,74,000 members – a whopping rise from the CPI’s 4,000 in 1949. Most of them crave for the spoils of office. Recently, while inaugurating a multi-storied party-office complex, built at a cost of nearly Rs 32 lakh at Jalpaiguri, secretary Anil Biswas regretted the lifestyle of the upwardly mobile and increasingly free-spending “section of the leadership”. The dichotomy between Biswas’s thought and action shows that his regret is for the record only: that is, the vote fraud will continue unabated in the forthcoming elections, no matter how fractured the worthless opposition is.
Incase you can read Bengaly go here(IE only) and read some of the artiles printed in last two weeks.
We can only hope that someday the end is going to come.Even an US invasion would be welcomed by me