Gun over roses
Sir — In a democratic polity, the role of the Opposition is as important as that of the ruling party. While the government should be allowed to fulfil its promises to the electorate, the Opposition should also keep a tab on governance. In “Lumpenland” (May 4), Ashok Mitra has correctly assessed that the people of Bengal will continue to suffer because of their naiveté.
A large section of the voters had become indifferent over the years. They “did not care for whom they were voting as long as they were voting against the Left”. Consequently, in the elections to the Parliament, the then Opposition made inroads into the Marxist bastions. In the 2011 assembly elections, however, the people decisively voted against the ineffective Left government. Mamata Banerjee promised to restore democratic norms and the rule of law. The people settled for a change in governance.
But like the rest of us, the author too has been appalled by the goings-on. None would have thought that the disenchantment with the new government would come so soon. Law and order is worsening. Offences against women, vandalism, killings and nepotism in the educational sphere are on the rise. Farmers have not got a fair price for their crops. The government has not talked of re-opening the factories that had shut down during the previous regime. Banerjee’s autocratic government has thus broken the promises it had made to the electorate.
Gokul Burman, Nadia
Sir — Ashok Mitra has disclosed the existence of a “lumpenland”. These lumpen elements have been reared by the present government. This is an old characteristic of Indian politics and society. Lumpen elements flourished right after Independence. To the public, they became Robinhood-like figures. In the 34 years of its rule, the Left Front had succeeded in raising a formidable army of lumpens. Initially they worked for their masters. Gradually, they became their own masters.
Change came as was foreseen by the Opposition. The lumpen elements were accommodated in the new regime. Mitra can rest assured that they will not take long to pull down their new masters. Mitra is an experienced political analyst and has already detected the signs of the fast approaching doomsday.
Sumitra De, Calcutta
Sir — Ashok Mitra has performed a skillful autopsy of the Bengali mindset to bare the root cause of the current political “gloom and apprehension rending the air”. There is no denying the fact that in their desire to get rid of the inefficient and corrupt Left Front, the people of the state had not spared any thought for the credentials of the protagonists, who had promised parivartan (change). Their modus operandi primarily depended on the vilification of the ruling party. Apart from this, they had no weaponry — not even a road map to elucidate how they planned to elevate West Bengal from the mess it finds itself in.
It is often argued that the people of Bengal rely more on their hearts than their heads while taking difficult decisions. As a result, their choices are often laced with sentiments and ignore hard facts.
The violence and other heinous and shameful incidents in almost every sphere, coupled with the government’s reluctance to tackle lawbreakers with a firm hand, have made a mockery of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
Bengal today is a textbook case of the adage, “a nation gets the government it deserves”.
Srikanta Bhattacharjee, Calcutta
Sir — The release of the district collector of Sukma, Alex Paul Menon, from Maoists custody came after successful negotiations among the government, interlocutors and rebels. However, this won’t stop Maoists from taking civil servants hostage. Rather it will embolden them further. The inability to take lessons from past mistakes has resulted in intermittent abductions. The government only wakes up from slumber when officials are taken hostage. There is a communication gap between the government and the Maoists. The onus lies with the home ministry to plug the gap. In return, the Maoists must stop abducting officials who work for the uplift of the people.
Janga Bahadur Sunuwar, Jalpaiguri