This Bengal election has become a bhadrolok vs ‘chhotolok' contest

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Hell broke loose in West Bengal after Abdur Rezzaq Mollah, a former Left strongman and currently a Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidate in the ongoing Assembly election, taunted celebrity politicians, including those from his current party. [Bengal could be on way to President's Rule]

Mollah has been attacked by all and sundry for his remarks, particularly against BJP candidate Roopa Ganguly, saying he knows how long cigarettes she prefers or with who she stays. The reaction has even targeted TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee for allegedly turning a blind eye to such "misogynist" statements.

cpm congress rally

Left supporters are today ridiculing Mollah, their former strongman

It is ironical to see that the Left and its supporters are criticising Mollah, a leader who had proved to be a vote-earner for them during the heydays in Bhangar area. The leader, who is known to be a "chashar byata" (son of a farmer) used to be a subaltern face of the Left by the virtue of the fact that he is both a farmer and a Muslim.

Mollah was once the sub-altern face of the bhadrolok-dominated political system

For a regime which was dominated by the bhadrolok (sophisticated and cultured) culture, Mollah was a perfect counter-face to win the grassroots' trust, till at least the Left committed the major blunder in Singur. [What if Mamata loses this election?]

After the Nano factory debacle and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's defeat, Mollah was one of the first to speak out against him and that was precisely because of his disappointment with the dhoti-clad elite's misreading the pitch. His "Hele dhorte pare na keute dhorte geche" (he who can't get hold of a small snake is out to catch a cobra) remark was considered the ultimate conclusion of the Left's fall from grace.

Anti-feminism is not the real reason: The bhadroloks have digested enough of such attacks on Mamata and other women in the past

Today, the same Left is aghast with Mollah for his comment. This outburst is surely for political reason for there were and are white-clad bhadrolok politicians in the Left's camp who made equally objectionable remark about Mamata Banerjee. Even Mollah had called Banerjee a "Hitler in sari" who would be buried in this election.

It is no less irony that the farmer leader is contesting this election on Banerjee's party ticket for his own survival but in this election of ironies, let's focus more on the hypocrisy of the anti-Mamata quarters.

Bengal's class politics: The elite is looking for a revenge for 2011

The Mollah episode has showed that this election has virtually been turned into a bhadrolok vs 'chhotolok' [uncultured] contest. It is true that Bengal's politics is not about caste as in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, but it certainly speaks about class and displays the distinction between classes in the most uncouth manner possible.

The supporters of the bhadrolok-dominated Left did not bother about Mollah when he played an instrumental role in manipulating the ballot boxes for the regimented party but today, when he is a member of a party which is led by a woman who not many certify as a representative of the elite, his 'anti-feminist' remark becomes a central issue.

Mollah has always been known for his raw tongue but the class is not ready to approve the lower strata, no matter how much it displays a superficial liking for them.

Bengal's elite political class of today is no better than 'unsophisticated' Mamata

Mollah's politically incorrect words on the celebrity politicians have helped the bhadroloks (the party, media and the civil society) construct the idea of 'chhotolok' profoundly so that it earns them dividends against it on May 19. But this sociological construction has little solution for Bengal's real problems---economy, law and order and women's security.

The elitist political class, media and civil society never liked Mamata Banerjee

No election in Bengal has perhaps been polarised so vividly between the bhardoloks and 'chhotoloks' and it was quite unexpected that this battle would occur so early [many had thought 2021 was the time].

A series of corruption charges, the collapse of a flyover, crude words uttered by a subaltern leader against the elite have all started playing in favour of the bhadroloks who are harbouring the ambition to win back the control of the state machinery after the humiliating loss in 2011.

But there is no guarantee that these bhadroloks can even change the script they claim to hate so much by an inch---given their political acumen [Surjya Kanta Mishra is just an occupant of the seat of the Leader of the Opposition, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is known more for arrogance than any impact on the ground while nobody knows how many Congress leaders in Bengal readily agree on a given topic subject].

The opponents, on the other hand, are looking more and more clueless. Nobody knows where the ship is heading to and Mamata Banerjee has surely lost control of things because of her own mishandling. Her enemies are multiplying each day as the skilled bhadrolok media is wasting no opportunity to provoke more minds against her [even local issues of heckling a girl are being painted as the ruling party's ill-deeds].

In the middle of a high-stake election, the 'non-bhadrolok' camp is at a disadvantage to cope with this mammoth design of the elite to defame it.

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