Post Election Violence Triggers Blame Game And Political Propaganda Between BJP And TMC In West Bengal

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Posts like ‘West Bengal is burning,’ ‘Save Bengal’ and ‘President rule in Bengal’ exploded on several social media platforms. 

Post election violence and aggressive videos with trigger warnings are viral on platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The netizens residing in West Bengal and outside are showing empathy to the victims who lost their lives during the post election violence.

According to these social media posts, after winning the West Bengal Assembly elections 2021, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) goons, especially in sub urban regions, killed BJP workers and supporters. Some of the posts also claimed, slaughter, mob lynching, sexual assault, rape and gang rape. However, what is the reality and how accurate these claims are is still a question. Netizens are also divided in their opinions, while many believed the claims to be propaganda of the BJP IT cell after losing elections, others claimed it to be the gundaraj (terror) of the Mamata Banerjee led TMC for punishing people having their choices and the death of democracy in the State.

What happened in West Bengal after the election results?

On the 2nd of May, after several rounds of counting, the TMC was declared as the winner of the West Bengal Assembly elections 2021. Soon after winning the elections, there were reports of violence in areas like Bardawan, Birbhum and others in West Bengal. The TMC cadres and BJP workers indulged in a fight, leading to deaths. Soon this violence turned into a bloodbath with deaths of 14 people, of which 5 were TMC workers and 9 BJP workers.

Incidents: At least three persons were killed and around five were injured in a clash between the BJP and the TMC workers in East Burdwan.

Clashes reported in East Burdwan’s Nabagram, in which

a BJP worker named Kakoli Khetrapal lost her life.

Violence reported in Hooghly’s Khanakul where TMC worker Debu Pramanik was hacked to death.

There have also been verified reports of a CPM office being burnt in Uttar Dinajpur’s Chopra.

Some journalists on Twitter have also reported incidents from Asansol, other parts of Burdwan and North 24 Parganas, in which the BJP offices and supporters have been attacked.

Police said that a 54 year old TMC worker had been stabbed to death in West Bengal’s Purba Bardhaman district.

What started as a normal post poll clash, took a massive, aggressive turn when social media was flooded with sensitive videos of violence against women. Soon, the matter raised communal riots. However, none of the reports said anything about sexual assault and rape incidents.

Soon, the BJP-TMC blame game started, while the BJP demanded a report and asked for President’s rule in West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee called the act, as after losing game plan.

Mamata Banerjee, who is set to take oath as the Chief Minister of West Bengal said, “The BJP is trying to create communal clashes after losing the poll. We will not let that happen.”

Meanwhile, Dilip Ghosh, the BJP President of West Bengal, despite knowing that violence is nothing new in Bengal said, “After the results, there is a little bit of excitement everywhere. But not even 24 hours have passed since the results and six people have been killed. Thousands of houses have been burnt down or vandalised. We are getting reports from every assembly.”

The interesting thing regarding his statement is, how during the campaign for polls, he himself spoke about violence and BJP leaders made statements like after 2nd May, TMC workers would be in hospitals. In one such event, he said, “the Trinamool goons would beg for their lives.”

According to many experts and media sources, the violence which has now turned into a communal issue, is the plan of the BJP after the humiliating defeat in West Bengal. Similar to Delhi, after losing, violence erupts in the State and there IT cells turn it to be a Hindu/Muslim issue. Old videos of violence, some from other states, are being circulated to agitate the minds of the people, especially Hindus. For example, videos of a violent incident in Odisha or Delhi are in circulation. Local CPI(ML) workers are keeping vigil and busting fake news about burnings, bombings and killings. There are reports that goons from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have been hired for violence.

It could be said that the violence which even the BJP chief feels is normal in the State is being projected as communal violence. This campaign is not aimed at West Bengal but to convince the one who voted out BJP that, if the BJP is not elected, Hindus would be in trouble.

This is not only to make people forget the BJP’s defeat but to reignite the communal flame that has been dimmed by the current pandemic of the Novel Coronavirus. West Bengal which witnessed campaigns and rallies for over a month, could explode with a number of COVID-19 cases. However, due to the burning Bengal picture, no one is talking about the COVID-19 situation. The erupted violence gave fresh energy to the BJP supporters and whitewashed their image.

However, the TMC Government had a vital role to take a strict stand against the violence, whether one sided or two sided, communally aimed or not. It is not only a question to Mamata Banerjee and her Government but the higher authorities and BJP’s senior leaders and other opposition parties, who are showing no effort to stop the violence but fueling the fire with constant social media posts.

Many BJP leaders even shared posts and videos of violence in West Bengal, giving it a Hindu-Muslim angle.

Highlighting the stand of Mamata Banerjee, it is to be noted, after winning, she did give a call for peace and asked her party members not to be provoked and excited. It could be said that the appeal was not strong enough to stop the violence. What is wrong on her part is, despite being in power, she could not control the violence in the State. However, Ms. Banerjee is yet to take the oath as the State Chief Minister, which implies that the power is still with the Election Commission of India (ECI.)

Meanwhile, the Governor of West Bengal summoned the chief of police and sought a report, asked by the Central Government

In addition, the BJP called for a protest and dharna on the 5th of May, against the violence in West Bengal.

Stay tuned for further updates.