Post-POLL violence in West Bengal has only compounded the challenge for the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government that has come to power for the third consecutive term with a thumping majority. While several lives were lost before and during the eight-phase polling, there was an attack on a Union Minister’s convoy soon after the declaration of results, following which PM Modi voiced his concern over the law and order situation. The Governor, mostly on a collision course with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, set out to visit the families affected by violence in Cooch Behar district and neighbouring Assam, triggering a blame game. The TMC has accused the BJP of showing concern only for the families of its own party workers even as violence has affected the workers of both parties. However, the ruling party has little to say on why violence was allowed to take place in the first place.
With the CM now reinstating most police officers who were moved out by the Election Commission, the onus will lie on the TMC government to establish law and order — a state subject — and instil confidence in those having different political affiliations. If the winning party’s conduct has come under scrutiny, equally disconcerting is the Centre’s decision to provide CISF security cover to the newly-elected BJP legislators. It not only sets a wrong precedent, but also qualifies as direct and unwarranted interference.
West Bengal has declared a near-complete lockdown till the month-end, days after the CM stated during the oath-taking ceremony that Covid vaccination and controlling the spread of the virus would top her agenda. The state is also thinking of completing the vaccination process of all the people in the next six months and needs the active cooperation of the Centre for this. With the election for the Speaker over, the Assembly is expected to convene in the days ahead. It is the designated forum to question the government and seek accountability. Elections over, governance should take precedence over politics.