The campaign focuses on the question of hate, divisive politics, autocracy, inequality and restrictions on the choices of the people of the country
Mohd Aasif | Clarion India
NEW DELHI – With elections to the 294-member West Bengal Legislative Assembly due in April-May, the ruling All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) has launched a ‘Bengal Bachao’ (Save Bengal) campaign against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
In order to reach its voters, the party has developed a website in Bengali, Hindi and English.
The campaign is one of the subaltern groups of the Facebook Page that features “Banglar Gorbo Mamata” which means Mamata–Pride of Bengal.\Party sources deny it as an election campaign. “This is not an election campaign but to have people registered who want to save themselves from BJP”, a woman on the grievance line told Clarion India.
The website asks visitors to ‘Mark Yourself Safe from BJP’. The campaign focuses on the question of hate, divisive politics, autocracy, inequality and restrictions on the choices of the people of the country.
On the five questions related to each topic, the website dedicates a small two-minute video to each question. The videos are titled ‘Are you against Hate?’, ‘Do you oppose divisive politics?’, ‘Will you speak up against autocracy?’, ‘Do you stand up against inequality?’ and ‘Do you reject restrictions on your choice?’
On the question of hate, the campaign talks about the legacy of riots in the name of caste, creed and religion and it holds out a warning that the ‘regime of hate’ is now at the doorsteps of West Bengal. In this context, the phrase “Yeh aag lagane wale kaun hain? Inke kapdon se hi pata chal jata hai” (Those who commit arson can be identified by their clothes) spoken by PM Narendra Modi has been included in the video.
Mentioning the rape cases of Unnao and Kathua, the campaign says accused like Asaram, Ravindra Tripathi have alleged support of BJP leaders. Along with that, it notifies that the mob lynching has become a common practice, be it Mohd Akhlaque or Junaid.
Though the BJP has constantly advocated ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat (One India Excellent India)’, it has been accused of doing divisive politics. The campaign reminds one about the politics of the freedom fighters who fought against divisive politics. Featuring the images of the vandalised statues of Vidyasagar and Periyar, it says the unity in the country is threatened and the idea of India is being separated from India.
Another video of the campaign talks about the autocracy of the current regime. It cites the data that the state has made around 3,974 arrests for speaking up against the government and slapped UAPA. The campaign says that the 73-year-old democracy is in danger.
“The government has imposed laws on the country without listening to the ‘man ki baat’ of the people. Mics were shut down in Parliament to silence the voices of the members of the other parties”, cites the example of the lack of democracy in the country. Murder of Gauri Lankesh and police brutality is the other face of autocracy.
Inequality, according to the campaign, is prevailing in the country which can be identified through the countrywide lockdown amid the global pandemic and migrant workers forced to walk thousands of kilometres. Along with that, the government passed 3 farm Bills. Discrimination on the basis of caste is a new normal as per the campaign, adding that the Rohith Vemula suicide case is one of the examples when leaders chose to remain ignorant.
Love jihad has been one of the favourite topics of the BJP leaders in the recent past. The campaign calls it a ‘Restriction on Choice’. It says that freedom of choice is in danger and dictated by fundamentalists as to what we can eat, wear and who we can be with. “People get killed for eating the food of their choice. People being brutally beaten up and even murdered for loving outside their own community”, it reads.