A certain party president is in the midst of a much-publicised yatra to West Bengal, lecturing the rest of us heathens on Tagore's message of love and peace.
He came. He lied. And then he lied some more.
"Mothers and sister in Didi's Bengal need to travel over 5 kms for drinking water". Err, not quite, Mr. Party President, Sir. Your troll army in Bengal botched their research again. Let us set the record straight. The furthest that any person living in Bengal needs to travel for access to potable water is 400 metres. The latest National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) report on the website of the Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation (led by the saintly Uma Bharti-ji) states that West Bengal has achieved 200% of the target set by the centre for improvement in water-quality affected habitations (second only to Telengana). The same data clearly shows that your state, Gujarat, achieved 0% of the target set by the ministry. Other BJP-ruled states do not fare much better - Haryana at 33%, Madhya Pradesh at 5% and Chhattisgarh at a minuscule 3. But then, data and facts have never mattered to you or your Prime Minister, Sir.
"If people of Bengal want to stop the illegal immigration from Bangladesh, they need to dethrone Mamata". This is your Goebbels' doctrine - a lie repeated often enough seems to be the truth. With unfailing regularity, you turn a blind eye to the facts. Bangladesh and India share a 4,096 km-long international border of which 2,217 kms lie in Bengal. Border security is solely controlled by the BSF, one of the five Central Armed Police Forces of the Union of India. It is not within the purview of the state government. The central government, as recently as February 2017, was reprimanded by the Supreme Court over its response to an order to fence the India-Bangladesh border to keep out illegal immigrants. The centre's affidavit sought more time to complete the task, citing lack of data on the riverine stretches, and stated that work on the entire stretch could take till 2020 to complete. Perhaps it is indeed time to pay heed to what you say and dethrone the government responsible for controlling the border, and who, by its own admission, is unable to collate the data required to do so!
"Mamata should be worried that the political ground is slipping out of her hands." Another quick fact-check, please. There have been by-polls to 27 Lok Sabha seats since May 2014. The BJP and its allies held 15 of the 27 seats in 2014. Since then, they have lost 9 and managed to retain only 6 - a retention rate of 40%. In stark contrast, the Trinamool Congress had 4 of these 27 seats in 2014 and today retain all 4 after emerging victorious in each of the bypolls - a retention rate of 100%! The Trinamool Congress since 2009 has increased both vote share and number of seats in each and every round of panchayat, municipal, assembly and parliamentary elections. From 19 Lok Sabha seats in 2009 to 34 in 2014, from 184 assembly seats in 2011 to 211 seats in 2016, the people of Bengal have reinforced their faith in Mamata Banerjee's government time and time again. May I draw your attention to the results of the recently concluded elections to the legislative assembly of Gujarat? In case it had slipped your notice, there, the BJP managed to win only 99 seats - down from a tally of 115 in 2012! Perhaps you need to set your own house in order.
"The BJP will win 22 plus seats in Bengal." Like every general entrusted with the burden of lifting the morale of his troops, you too must play your part. We sympathise with you. The BJP's seat tally in Bengal currently stands at 2 out of 42 - Darjeeling and Asansol. The Darjeeling seat was won under the false and seditious promise of creating Gorkhaland. The absence of the BJP MP during the six-month-long crisis in the hills, combined with the prevarications of the government in Delhi, have ensured that the BJP has no chance whatsoever of winning the seat in 2019. That leaves but one seat, Asansol, which the BJP won by a margin of 70,480 votes in 2014. In the 2016 assembly elections, 5 of the 7 assembly segments of this Lok Sabha seat voted Trinamool; the Left won the other two. The difference in votes between the Trinamool and the BJP was a staggering 240,650. So far, the only magic you've managed to create in Asansol is to reduce votes from 419,983 in 2014 to 252,563 in 2016 - a 40% drop in 24 months. We sincerely hope your planned 22-fold increase in the next 9 months relies on a more efficacious formula!
Chaucer wrote "he who has a head of glass, should beware any hostile stones that pass" - words are just as apt for the BJP's Glass House on the Ganges.
(Mahua Moitra is a member of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly and General Secretary of the West Bengal Trinamool Congress.)
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