Black Assembly

Democracy has been murdered time and again in West Bengal. And the fact that neither the ruling party nor the opposition have any inherent capabilities in meeting the democratic aspirations of the people is not something new. Lack of informed debates, attentiveness of representatives in the house, if not watching porn or taking a nap, not allowing the speaker to moderate the business of the house etc., have been a common phenomena in this so called largest democracy.

 

West Bengal’s Assembly history is marred with instances of hooliganism by the so called elected representatives since the early days of post colonial bourgeoisie rule. And yet again, on the 11th of December history repeated itself unhindered with shame and cowardice, with MLA‘s openly indulging in fist fights.

The Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress (TMC) which runs the government in the State at present has to its credits destroying assembly furniture, not so long ago, in the year 2006. Today the seat and responsibility of governance has hardly affected their mindset or attitude in indulging towards such hooliganism. The issue of fraudulent ‘chit funds‘ plundering the poor Bengali’s savings had been a ubiquitous headline in the local media for quite some time now.

11th December afternoon saw some opposition members seeking an adjournment motion to discuss the matter, and the alleged collusion of members of the government and senior members of the state executive with the managers of these fraudulent financial institutions. This motion which ideally should have been prioritised given the amount of public interest (hundreds of crores of rupees is said to have been plundered in rural Bengal) involved in this matter was rejected by the Speaker of the House (who himself has earned the ticket to the house for his undeniable loyalty to the present Chief Minister). It could have ended there or may have invited serious protests from the opposition as is the normal course everywhere.

However, the MLA’s of the ruling party were in no mood to hear the opposition’s arguments and openly started flexing their muscles expressing their unmasked perversion for all democratic norms, especially in the absence of any camera recording during the proceedings of the day. Not only were members of the opposition assaulted physically, but women MLA’s too were dragged by their hair and abused in languages that can be filthy at best and morally pervert at worst. The Drama did not end here. Hospitals were influenced to not admit the injured MLA’s and a defiant minister in a press conference even claimed that their loss of temper would have ended up in irreversible damage since their numerical strength is much more!

The Chief Minister – Mamata Banerjee seems to be taking a lot of time to construe how the Maoists can be blamed for this incident and was thus unavailable for comment on the said incident!! But her prompt orders were available to suspend another female MLA from her own party who could not stand such hypocrisy and condemned yesterday as a black day for West Bengal. The suspended MLA also expressed her fear of being a lady in the house, which has proven beyond doubt to be a shelter for goons and thugs.

While locally it is a matter of great shame, at a national stage the corporate media, in its usual hypocritical style, is mocking the Bengali masses for having elected a mad woman to power. As in all other cases, the real issue of looting the “chit funds” (or more appropriately ‘cheat funds’!) and suffering of the masses will be forgotten in the hue and cry over the ruling party’s behaviour. However, the fact cannot be denied that both the ruling party and the opposition (everywhere across India) are hand in glove in corruption scams one after another and this is bound to reflect in elections and struggles which will undoubtedly emerge in the future. The only missing factor is a mass genuine socialist alternative against the rotten capitalist-landlordist system in India.

Saptarshi Banerjee

Bangalore