Kolkata Violence May Dent BJP’s Prospects in Bengal Lok Sabha Polls: Analysts

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Kolkata violence LIVE: The incident took place when Shah’s convoy was passing by Calcutta University’s College Street campus. (Express photo)

“…Vidyasagar is an exemplar of Bengal Renaissance. Yesterday’s incidence was an open act of arrogance of the BJP goons that were brought from outside Bengal,” said women right activist, Santasree Chaudhuri.

Shabina Akhtar | Caravan Daily

KOLKATA — While Amit Shah and senior BJP leaders in New Delhi may be claiming that the clash between TMC-BJP that took place during the much-hyped roadshow in Kolkata was an attack on Shah, in Bengal, the entire issue is being taken as an attack on Bengal’s culture and heritage.

The clash that broke out near the two-century-old Vidyasagar College, from where Amit Shah’s convoy was passing, turned so violent that not only college was rampaged but also an antique statue of the icon of Bengal Renaissance – Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was demolished by the angry mob.

Vidyasagar, a philosopher, reformer and educator of Bengal not just brought about social reforms but was also the architect of the present age Bengali typography. Vidyasagar’s book, Bornoporichoy (Character Identification) is a must in all schools in Bengal.

The destruction of the idol of this exemplary man has hurt the Bengali sentiment. Reacting to this act of vandalism, women right activist, Santasree Chaudhuri, said, “This was a terrible thing to do. Vidyasagar is an exemplar of Bengal Renaissance. Yesterday’s incidence was an open act of arrogance of the BJP goons that were brought from outside Bengal. ”

Socio-legal researcher and activist, Biswanath Goswami called it a Black Day in the history of Bengal. He said, “ECI has completely failed to control irresponsible leaders effectively.” He further added, “Vandalisation of Vidyasagar College and the bust of Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, was not just an attack on an Indian reformer and architect of modern education in India but also an attack on Indian culture, heritage, and values.”

Adding to that Ujjaini Halim, state coordinator of West Bengal Election Watch said, “We condemn this violence and urge the state machinery as well as Election Commission of India to look into the matter. The result of this violence hurts us immensely as Bengali. We again reiterate that money and the power-driven election are detrimental to electoral democracy.”

Given the reaction that it is drawing, many are of the opinion that it might dent BJP’s political aspirations in Bengal. Political analyst Uddayan Bandopadhyay clearly stated that no Bengali will vote for BJP after this incident. He said, “This is so shameful and will act as a speed breaker for BJP’s aspirations in Bengal. I believe BJP will face a huge anti-BJP vote in Phase VII.”

He perhaps has a point. There were several posts on Facebook and other social media, asking people to vote judiciously on May 19. “Bengal, you are what you are for some reasons. VOTE WISELY. The soul of the state is weeping today,” wrote Amita Ghose, on her timeline.

Meanwhile, a number of roadblocks and protest rallies have been called by both CPIM and TMC to protest against the demolition of the antique statue and Vidyasagar College, a two-century-old institution.

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