Letters to the editor: How CPM lost the plot in Bengal
Sir — During the Bengal assembly polls the Communist Party of India (Marxist) supporters and even some leaders flooded social media with the term, “BJmool”, a combination of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Trinamul Congress. What the CPI(M) wanted to convey was that the two parties were essentially the same and that both were the enemy. They even said that the TMC and the BJP were locked in a pseudo battle. After failing to win even a single seat in the assembly, the party mandarins are now saying that party workers should desist from using the term “BJmool” because it creates confusion (“Light dawns”, Aug 6).
The CPI(M) has now realized that the BJP is not similar to any other political party because it is run by the fascist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Here, some points need to be cleared: should the TMC really not be bracketed with the BJP in so far as ‘competitive communalism’ is concerned? Is there no trace of fascism in the TMC’s style of working? Most important, can there be any better definition of the likes of Mukul Roy than “BJmool”? The CPI(M) is barking up the wrong tree. The party needs a great deal of introspection in order to find the root causes of its rout in the assembly elections. The confusion created by coining “BJmool” is not it.
Baruipur, South 24 Parganas
Sir — It is clear that the CPI(M) in Bengal lost the plot in the assembly elections by going after Mamata Banerjee instead of focusing on the BJP. Both the CPI(M) and the Congress leaderships were convinced that there was reasonable political space for them to dislodge the TMC from power and relegate the BJP to a distant third position. To this end, they coined the term “BJmool” to project the idea that the BJP and the Trinamul Congress were two sides of the same coin.
The CPI(M) leadership blamed the voters for the party’s failures instead of poor decision-making. This arrogance of the leadership — that it could not do anything wrong — was also exhibited in its alliance with Abbas Siddiqui, a religious preacher well-known for his illiberal and misogynistic views. Surprisingly, the CPI(M) leadership overlooked major differences between the BJP and the TMC.
The CPI(M) kept projecting the two parties as the same even when a large number of TMC leaders were leaving the party to join the BJP. The adversarial nature of relations between the two parties was clear to everyone but the CPI(M). The Left in India has to retune its stance according to the aspirations of the new generation; instead it remains stuck in the 1960s and 1970s. It has learnt no lessons from China. The Left in West Bengal, because of its incapacity to reinvent itself, is becoming increasingly irrelevant.
Sir — It is heartening to see that the CPI(M) has realized the error of its ways in not uniting against a common enemy when it was most important to do so. This mistake proved costly as the Left had to cede its position as principal Opposition to the BJP in West Bengal. Unfortunately, the inroads that the BJP has made in Bengal will affect the common people and the brotherhood in the state more than it will the CPI(M). Amends must be made now to keep the BJP away from making further progress in Bengal in the future.
Sir — Bizarre food combinations are all the rage on the internet. People are competing to dish out the weirdest combinations — be it eggs fried with Fanta in India or liquid chocolate poured over biryani in Pakistan — that will raise a storm on the internet. While some of these fusions can be delicious, there are often dangers to mixing disparate ingredients. Street stalls that come up with such dishes might not have the wherewithal to comprehend the dangers of mixing ingredients that can cause adverse reactions once consumed. People should be careful about what they eat.