I am not in politics. However, I am a close political observer for the last several years. I try to objectively analyze the movement of politics and politicians to the best of my ability, without having any prejudice or love or hate for any political outfit or political philosophy.
In my capacity as a chemical engineer, I was working in a factory in West Bengal several years back, when Jyoti Basu was the Chief Minister of the state. Before moving to West Bengal, I worked in a factory in Kerala in a chemical plant. When I was working in Kerala too, I have seen the Marxist government in the state.
I was gheraoed in West Bengal for the second time, after being gheraoed in Kerala for the first time. Nevertheless, I have not allowed this bitter experience to influence my overall impression of both these states, which have unique and laudable features.
During my working in West Bengal, I became a sincere admirer of Bengalis for a variety of positive reasons
I always felt that if Bengal were to get a progressive government with a national outlook with a knowledgeable and earnest Chief Minister, West Bengal could become one of the most prosperous states in the country. It has no reason not to be so. Though Jyoti Basu was a highly cultured and civilized person, he could not stop violence and hate politics in West Bengal for whatever reasons, though Jyoti Basu could successfully maintain his image as a decent and respectable person.
Now that Mamata Banerjee has been the Chief Minister of West Bengal for ten years as unquestioned founder leader of Trinamul Congress, I feel she has not utilized the opportunity to benefit the state to the extent needed, given the massive mandate she has.
During her ten years rule, violent incidents have remained unabated in West Bengal and her image and claim that she was a street fighter has not helped the matter.
I was totally shocked when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee entered a police station in the state and forced the police to release a worker belonging to her party, who was arrested by the police for some offense. My immediate feeling was as to how a Chief Minister could do such things and I started wondering as to whether any other Chief Minister has done a similar act in any state in India. I could not find another example.
Since this untenable act of Mamata Banerjee happened during the beginning of her first term, I thought she would improve her public conduct and refrain from similar acts in the future. Though Mamata Banerjee did not repeat this obnoxious act, the vituperative language that she was using frequently, even as Chief Minister of the state, to abuse and criticize the leaders of the opposition parties, created a violent atmosphere in West Bengal. She went to the extent of stating that she would want to slap Prime Minister Modi.
I am not particularly impressed by several of the criticisms made against her such as appeasing the minority communities, allowing her nephew to interfere in government and party affairs, etc. However, I cannot but note that she has not been able to inculcate a climate of economic and industrial growth in the state to any significant level..
The ground reality and the fact is that Mamata Banerjee was focusing more in political acts rather than acts relating to economy and development and her Chief ministership has been weighing more towards political aspects rather than on development and economic aspects. This scenario would become clear to any observer with regard to economic development registered in West Bengal during the last ten years.
In short, it has been noisy West Bengal that she is leading rather than a dignified and progressive West Bengal that Bengalis richly deserve and need.
I feel that West Bengal has experimented enough with Mamata Banerjee’s Chief MInistership and should give way to another leader as Chief Minister, who may have possibly a different approach.
Possibly, the next Chief Minister of West Bengal should follow the example set by Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister of the neighboring state Odisha, for the benchmark that he has created for dignified governance.
I do not suggest which should be another political party that should come to power in West Bengal after the election, but certainly, West Bengal needs a different Chief Minister.
West Bengal cannot afford another five years of the type of leadership that Mamata Banerjee could provide.
Can anyone reasonably hope that Mamata Banerjee would give a different type of more positive leadership in the next five years than what she has done in the last ten years? If somebody would entertain such hope, it could end up as a utopian expectation and as a calculated risk.
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