Kolkata, Feb 21: Supporters of the ruling Trianmool Congress (TMC) were accused of bashing a school headmaster and also chopping off the ear of a panchayat member of the party on Thursday for not taking the state government's line of opposing the ongoing strike called by the central trade unions. It was learnt that the two shocking incidents occurred in Murshidabad district where the headmaster was beaten up for not opening his school and the panchayat member did not attend work, fearing trouble during the strike.
On Wednesday, headmaster of another school in North 24-Parganas district was attacked for closing his school before schedule and allowing the students to go home early. On the same afternoon, the state chief minister, who had gone to Hazra area in southern Kolkata where the bandh supporters ransacked a coffee shop, was found asking her men: "Were you sleeping? How did they dare to do this?"
All these incidents raise a pertinent question: Is Mamata Banerjee the new Left in India? While she took an aggressive stance vis-à-vis strike, announcing that he would stop it by hook or crook and effectively pressured the state employees to attend work, the general mood indicated that the common people were not convinced even after the CM said that she would guard them against all mischief-makers.
Political observers felt it was a prestige battle for Banerjee to keep her administration functioning in the face of the challenge although she tried to project it a if she was genuinely trying to boost the notorious work culture in the state.
And this battle of prestige is clearly getting reflected through incidents like severing ear or bashing up a school teacher. The CM's reprimanding her partymen for failing to stop vandalism instead of the administration is another reflection of the Left's style of governance that the state had seen for three long decades. The former rulers also efficiently used localized party machinery to make its forceful strikes successful in the past and the current CM is repeating the same.
The Left's machinery also made it difficult for the Opposition to exist with a differing opinion in the past and anybody who refused to toe its line was severely dealt with.
Earlier, ears were severed in Bengal for coming out of house on a day of strike. Now, ears are severed for not coming out of house. This is what the change has been all about.