Overnight Sagardighi has become a synecdoche. Since result-day last week, the Left-Congress combine’s win in the by -elections held in this Assembly constituency in Murshidabad has been variously dubbed, sometimes as a “blow to the Trinamul”, sometimes as an indication of the wind changing, sometimes as the chink in the Trinamul’s armour and sometimes as an example of an “immoral” alliance.
Part for the whole
Lands, like people, have their earmarked political destinies. Some are destined to pass into synecdoche-hood. Hamlet's Denmark is always something rotten, Arthur's Camelot will always be a “shining moment”. Much like the Rorschach inkblot test, wherein the same inkblots are read differently by different personalities, these names mean different things to different people. Nandigram is one such --- ask the CPI(M), ask Mamata Banerjee, ask Nachiketa, ask Suvendu Adhikari. Singur is another such. Why else do you think in the run-up to the 2021 Bengal elections, both Narendra Modi and Amit Shah campaigned in Singur within days of each other?
The symbolic matters. Malda is no longer the Malda of Barkatda, but has passed into the realm of whataboutery. And come to think of it, would the fact that Smriti Irani’s son did bhoomi pujan for her house-to-be have made news if the plot was in Amreli instead of Amethi? It is once again the symbolic that makes Modi let go of Vadodara and retain Varanasi, and it is the lack of the symbolic that makes the MP from Wayanad not quite the political heavyweight India needs. In a state once governed by the legendary Congress chief minister Bidhan Roy, and Prafulla Sen and Siddhartha Shankar Ray, one hitherto unheard of Bayron Biswas of the Congress has won the Sagardighi bypolls by 23,000 votes and that seems to have made all the difference. Some places may or may not make it to the political hall of fame, but nothing stops them from becoming a synecdoche for dreams.