West Bengal – A Debate on the support to Mamata Banerjee

August 23, 2010

August 23, 2010

1. Aug 22 – On the support to Mamata Banerjee – an open letter to intellectuals – Sumanta Banerjee
2. Sep 02 – On Sumanta Banerjee’s Open Letter – Dipanjan Rai Chaudhuri
3. Sep 02 – A Reply to the response by Dipanjan Rai Chaudhuri – Sumanta Banerjee
4. Sep 10 – Responding to Sumanta Banerjee’s reply – Dipanjan Rai Chaudhuri

On the support to Mamata Banerjee – an open letter to intellectuals

by Sumanta Banerjee

An open letter to Mahashweta Debi, D. Bandyopadhyay, Suvaprasanna, Sujato Bhadra and other friends…

Dear friends

It is with a certain sense of trepidation and misgiving that I have been watching your decision to support Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamul Congress in order to oppose the misrule of the criminal and corrupt CPI(M)-led Left Front Government. Your backing of Mamata Banerjee has sinister implications and will bode ill for West Bengal politics. One expects Bengali intellectuals of your stature to have the courage to chart out an independent course of action and form an alternative platform (committed to the values of socialism, democracy and secularism) that would restore morality in Bengali politics, and be free of control of an unscrupulous and opportunist politician like Mamata.

Let me explain my stand on the present situation in West Bengal, and clarify the points raised by me above. First, I strongly feel that the CPI(M) must not only be ousted from power in West Bengal, but politically exposed on the national scene as a party that does not deserve to be called Leftist any more. It has besmirched the cause of socialism by resorting to fascist atrocities and crass corruption in two states it rules – West Bengal and Kerala. It has built up a wealthy party bureaucracy that sustains on the support of a well-organized gang of armed `party-cadres’ (goons and extortionists known as `harmads’ in West Bengal), and agents of the corporate sector (who bribe CPI-M leaders and ministers to worm their way into the heart of the economy of Kerala). A query under RTI has revealed that the CPI(M) is the fourth richest political party in India after the Congress, the BJP, and the BSP. As evident from its policies as a ruling party in West Bengal and Kerala, it has given up the cause of the poor and the commitment it made in its party programme to establish a `People’s Democratic State.’ The CPI(M) today has therefore reduced itself to a party that is irrelevant to the cause of socialism and the democratic movement in India.

In these circumstances, I share your concerns about the plight of the villagers of Singur, Nandigram, Lalgarh and other places who have been facing repression by security forces in connivance with CPI(M) `harmads.’ I also join you in protesting against the suppression of democratic rights of intellectuals and others in the name of repressing the Maoists in West Bengal. I also strongly condemn the killing of the Maoist leader Azad and the journalist Hemchandra Pande in a `false encounter’ organized by the Andhra police under the go-ahead signal from Chidambaram’s Home Ministry in Delhi – an incident that has been quite understandably drawn protest from many among you. The silence of the CPI(M) leaders on this atrocious incident speaks volumes about the party’s callous attitude towards the issue of human rights.

Having said this, I would now request you to consider the following questions:

First, by backing Mamata Banerjee, and some of you sharing public platforms at meetings organized by her party – the latest example being the August 9 rally at Lalgarh, are you not openly campaigning for her electoral success? Despite her claim that the rally was non-political and was held under the auspices of some organization called `Santrash Birodhi Manch’ (or under some such designation), those of you who attended the meeting must have certainly observed the signs of domination of the rally by the Trinamul – the party’s flags furling all over, and Mamata being the main speaker. Surely, being intellectuals, you should have realized that you were being roped in for what was virtually a rally for Trinamul’s electoral propaganda. So, am I to understand that you are asking the West Bengal electorate to vote for Trinamul in the coming elections – in the name of `paribartan’ or change ? Please make your definition of `paribartan’ clear in ideological and political terms.

Secondly, apropos of your present policy to support Mamata Banerjee, may I ask you whether you seriously believe that Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamul Congress are the desirable substitutes for CPI(M) ? I am sure that most amongst you who are veteran participants in West Bengal’s political and cultural developments during the last three or four decades, are aware of the nefarious role that Mamata Banerjee had played in the state’s politics. She started her political career as a Youth Congress leader, coming into limelight by leading a bunch of hoodlums in attacking Jayapraksh Narayan’s car in April 1975, when he came to address a meeting in Calcutta to protest against Indira Gandhi’s dictatorial policies that were to lead to the declaration of Emergency a few months later. She climbed on the bonnet of his car and danced while her followers smashed the windscreen and JP had a hair breadth of an escape. (The incident is recorded in contemporary newspapers, and must be known to Mahaswheta Debi and others who lived through the horrors of that era). All through the Emergency, Mamata remained a loyal storm-trooper of the Sanjay Gandhi-led Youth Congress brigade of gangsters which terrorized West Bengal and killed Leftist cadres. Ever since then, Mamata had honed her skills as a street-smart politician, depending on the muscle power of her followers, mouthing populist slogans and indulging in exhibitionist acts. Riding on this wave of populism, she managed to win her way to the Lok Sabha, and displayed her ugly opportunism by being a partner of the BJP in the Union cabinet during the notorious regime of the NDA, and then after the electoral defeat of the BJP, switching over to the Congress-led UPA at the centre today to occupy the coveted post of Railway Ministry. What is her record as a Railway Minister? As everyone knows, in her populist zeal to inaugurate new railway lines, she is totally ignoring the safety requirements which is leading to increasing accidents. Besides, she is least interested in the responsibilities that she is required to carry out as a railway minister at the centre.

She is sticking to her ministership, which allows her to distribute largesse to her minions in West Bengal, and enjoy the protection of central armed forces wherever she goes in West Bengal to address her (pre-electoral) meetings. How could you intellectuals – expected to be discerning in your judgment – believe that the August 9 public meeting at Lalgarh was a `non-political’ rally to protest against atrocities both by the CPI(M) harmads and the CRPF in their joint operations ? Didn’t you observe the hundreds of central security forces – deployed by the same central government – to protect its minister Mamata Banerjee and her convoy during her journey to Lalgarh and at the site of her meeting? So, what sort of a protest was this? A rally to oppose the CPI(M) under the auspices of a central minister and under the umbrella of central security forces? Did any one from among you who shared the dais with Mamata, ask her directly why is she still a part of a central government which sends armed forces to Lalgarh to suppress popular protest? Why does she allow herself to be surrounded by the same security forces? If she is so concerned about the plight of the victims of the central security forces, why isn’t she resigning from the central cabinet? Surely, you can’t have your cake and eat it.

Let me come to the other issue – the hope for a `paribartan’, a change for the better, under the Trinamul. Even before capturing Writers’ Building (Mamata Banerjee’s dream), her party had a chance to set a model of better governance through capturing the panchayats. Her candidates did win the majority of the panchayats in West Bengal – riding on the wave of popular discontent and anger with the nepotism of the erstwhile CPI(M) panchayat pradhans. But the record of the newly elected Trinamul panchayat pradhans and members is not covered with glory. Charges of corruption and intimidation – the same allegations that were leveled against their CPI(M) predecessors – are already being voiced by villagers in several panchayats. (In fact, one of the Trinamul MPs, Kabir Suman himself is on record, having protested against the greed and avarice of his party’s elected panchayat members). Through the panchayat polls, West Bengal’s villagers have thus changed one set of cheats and oppressors with another. Do you want a repetition of a similar change – `paribartan’ – in the next Assembly elections, with the avaricious goons of the Trinamul (replicas of the CPI-M) becoming the ruling party?

Before concluding, let me answer another set of arguments that I often find being voiced by many from among your midst, in defence of Mamata Banerjee. These arguments have been eloquently expressed by the well-known intellectual Asru Kumar Sikdar in an article published in the journal FRONTIER, August 8-14, 2010). In support of Mamata’s credentials as a subaltern spokeswoman, Sikdar says: “She does not possess any pedigree or degrees from Oxbridge or Harvard…she did not have any godfather…” and then he elevates her to the status of a `phenomenon’, (echoing the sociologist Andre Beteille), as someone “who has consolidated the rise of the subalterns and antipathy of the people against the CPI(M) into a solid mass…”.

Can I now please interrupt Asru Kumar’s outpouring of pro-Mamata sentiments by pointing out a few factual errors? First, even if Mamata did not have a “minor degree from the Presidency College,” in order to impress the urban intellectuals during her electoral campaigns in the 1980-90 period, she did flaunt the possession of a degree or doctorate from some US university – a claim which created a minor controversy in the newspaper columns in those days, with some reporters checking the facts with the university and finding her claims to be rather dubious! Secondly, Sikdar’s other contention that “she did not have any godfather” does not cut ice, since everyone acquainted with the political developments of West Bengal in the 1970s knows that the `godfather’ of the Congress in those days was Siddhartha Shankar Ray, who picked up and groomed characters like Mamata Banerjee, Priyaranjan Das Munshi, to be the leaders of the Youth Congress. Mamata did not suddenly arrive on the West Bengal political scene in the 2000s as a saviour of the poor – as Asru Kumar would have us believe. She has quite a long political career behind her, which had been shaped, and patronized at different stages, by Siddhartha Shankar Ray, Pranab Mukhopadhyay, and other Congress leaders. She had been reared upon the belief in muscle power alone to defeat political rivals and in populist slogans to woo the masses. What surprises me is that how can you forget this history of Mamata’s rise to power? Do you find any fundamental change in her beliefs, tactics that would make her and her party any different from the CPI(M) ?

I am not blaming Asru Kumar Sikdar (whom I respect as an eminent writer), or you who are my friends. I’m just expressing certain misgivings about the stand that you (Left-minded and liberal intellectuals) are taking in supporting Mamata Banerjee. Your stand reflects a dilemma which you are facing, and which you are trying to escape from by coming up with a rather simplistic rationalization; since the Left has failed in West Bengal, the only alternative is Trinamul. In order to justify this, you have to elevate Mamata to the status of a subaltern leader. As a member of your community, I can quite understand why you are resorting to this strategy. Guilt-ridden under the burden of our `Mirjafari Ateet’ (as described by the poet Samar Sen), we want to make penance for our past role as a class of toadies of British colonialism and our present role as a privileged community. In our efforts to identify ourselves with the under-privileged, in the past we joined the Communist movement. In the present political scenario of West Bengal, where the leaders of the established Communist parties have abdicated their role to represent the interests of the poor, you are looking for an alternative icon with a pro-poor image. Mamata Banerjee, in your opinion, fills that bill. Although she doesn’t come from the labouring classes, but from a typical urban educated Bengali family, she has managed to give voice to the raw anger of both the rural poor and the urban middle classes, who are frustrated with the criminal and corrupt rule of the CPI(M). But, devoid of any ideological motivation, and lacking any far-reaching concrete programme of economic changes in West Bengal, she is merely concentrating on her short-term objective of winning an easy victory to power in the state in the next elections by whipping up a mass frenzy with her populist slogans. As for you, the Bengali intellectuals, who are rallying behind her today, I think you are again on a guilt-trip. The last time the trip had ideological moorings – Marxism. Today, it is stripped of any ideological motivations. So, you are willing to abandon ideologies (whether Marxism, Gandhism, or any social democratic ideals), and opt instead for valorizing an unthinking populist tub-thumper. But, please don’t identify Trinamul’s vote-catching slogans and lumpen tactics with the basic problems of the rural and urban poor and the necessity for an enlightened and long-term solution to them. Some among you may be nurturing the hope of advising Mamata Banerjee and transforming her into a chief minister who would subscribe to your concept of `paribartan.’ But, if you keep in mind her reputation of utter inefficiency as a minister in the Union cabinet, and her present single-track ambition of merely replacing Buddhadeb Bhattacharya to occupy the coveted post of chief minister in West Bengal, I don’t think you can hope from such an individual and her party any `paribartan’ that would lead to a better change for the poor.

Let me remind you in this connection of the bitter experience of the Left and liberal intellectuals outside West Bengal in the 1990s, when they in a similar fashion, elevated Shibu Soren, Laloo Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayavati as the subaltern leaders of the tribal communities, OBCs, and dalits respectively. What happened? These so-called representatives of the oppressed were successively brought to power in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and other states – supported by the Left and liberal intellectuals (your counterparts in these states). But once coming to power,these chief ministers have replicated the same model of governance as set by their Congress or BJP predecessors. Their regimes in Jharkhand, Bihar, UP are marked by scenes of horse-trading on Assembly floors, and tainted by cases of nepotism, financial scams, suppression of popular protests. Is Mamata Banerjee any different? Given her past record as a typical weathercock in Indian national politics, and the present record of her party as a corrupt functionary in West Bengal’s panchayats, can you seriously accept her as a leader of the Bengali oppressed poor to bring `paribartan’ in our state ? Once elected as the West Bengal chief minister, she is likely to replicate the same model.

In these circumstances, shouldn’t you as the intelligentsia of West Bengal, give a lead to an alternative movement? A movement for a third option? In the present bi-polar political situation in West Bengal, the people are left with no choice but the CPI(M) or the Trinamul only. There is an urgent need for an alternative strategy that restores morality in Bengali politics, puts an end to the goonda-raj of both the CPI(M) and Trinamul varieties, and re-establishes the values of a socialist, democratic and secular society. Instead of clinging to Mamata Banerjee’s anchal, don’t you have the courage to create such an alternative platform by bringing together both Left-minded people and liberal democrats? A platform that will demarcate itself from the discredited CPI-M led Left, as well as from the opportunist politics of Mamata Banerjee. A platform from which, a new generation of political activists may emerge to work towards a basic change in the socio-economic structure in West Bengal.

Sumanta Banerjee,


August 22, 2010.


On Sumanta Banerjee’s Open Letter

by Dipanjan Rai Chaudhuri

September 02, 2010

Sumanta Banerjee is shocked at actions by intellectuals of West Bengal which might help the TMC electorally. He thinks a TMC victory will be a disaster for the people of West Bengal, and points to bad performance of TMC-led panchayets, Mamata Banerjee’s Congress (and Youth Congress) antecedents, including support of the Emergency and closeness to Siddhartha Ray, her political mistakes, her controversial acts of commission and omission as Railways minister.

Sumanta Banerjee castigates the CPI(M). He urges the intellectuals to participate in elections on a ‘sadbhavana’ platform and create a third space. Does he really believe that such a platform will impress the people who know that all electoral parties talk morality before the elections? He underestimates the height of popular hatred of the people against the CPI(M). All transgressions of the TMC and its leader will be forgiven and forgotten for the time being, because, the people want to see the end of CPI(M) rule (they waited forgivingly 32 years for the CPI(M) to change). And, so, in fact, such a platform won’t be popular because the people will see at once that insofar it will have any effect, it will split anti- CPI(M) votes and help the CPI(M). (Such a platform is the need of the day in urban and suburban West Bengal, not to indulge in electoral farce, but to start a movement to mobilize and unite the people against corruption, neo-liberal monopolistic aggression, state terror, and fascist interference, as suggested by Sumanta Banerjee in an earlier intervention. One cannot but agree with Sumanta Banerjee that intellectuals should concentrate on building such a platform. But this should be in preparation for a Nav Nirman- or Sampurna Kranti-like movement and not for fighting elections.

One feels sad that a perceptive and experienced political activist and author like Sumanta Banerjee does not see that a third electoral platform is a non-starter at this point. Is he suggesting this measure as a debating ploy? The only party which can dislodge the CPI(M) is the TMC, and to rule out the TMC as the alternative is to accept the continuation of CPI(M) rule. Sumanta Banerjee has asked the intellectuals many questions. Only one question for him — Do you prefer the CPI(M) to win the next Vidhan Sabha elections or the TMC, if this is the only real choice?

In 1967, the Congress was defeated electorally for the first time in this state, and a UF government was formed. Jyoti Basu was the Home Minister. As results were declared we remember covering street lamps with red cellophane and putting up strings of green banana and brinjol to spite Congress leaders. I am sure Sumanta Banerjee celebrated the Congress defeat. But this UF soon fired on Naxalbari peasants and killed the “Saptakanya, Seven Daughters”. Were we wrong in wanting a Congress defeat?

What’s in a name? Much. Some would say that we were right because the CPI(M) was against the Congress. Had the initials heralded the name, “Capitalists’ Running Dogs Party of India (Masked not Marxist!), would we have been wrong in wanting a defeat for the Congress?

In 1977, too, we were happy that the party of the Emergency was defeated. Were we wrong again? Coming to 2010 we find that the victorious party of 1977 has surrendered to capital and adopted blindly the Buddha-Nirupam neo-liberal policy of inviting and subsidising big capital for jobless growth. It has the policy and the money and muscle power to keep the urban populace subservient to its local ‘leaders’. To ‘pacify’ the rural masses, who, after Singur, are showing an uncharacteristic intransigence in fighting on issues affecting them, the Harmad has been created, with not less than 50 armed camps, as estimated officially, in the jangal mahal. None of us has any intention of forgetting what the Harmad did in Nandigram. From Ananda Margis on Bijon Setu to Chhoto Angria, the CPI(M) has clearly demonstrated what it will do to political opponents who have the temerity to enter what it regards as its back-yards. Every one of us can narrate experiences similar to, though perhaps a degree or two more or less harrowing than, that of Manik Mondal, who was asked to leave Netajinagar for writing a novel on Nandigram, and whose wife was asked to leave a queue for collecting electoral id cards. Naba Datta, a prominent human rights worker (with no connection to any Maoist outfit) was arrested and is being harassed with a plethora of false cases, at the behest of the sponge iron lobby, because Naba Datta campaigned against sponge iron pollution.

This is now a party of the money-bags, a party with guns and armies of hoodlums to use them in their task of intimidation, a party with a one-point programme of cornering votes, by hook or by crook, intimidation and booth capture, followed by graft, jobbery, embezzlement, and loot . It meets all symptoms and characteristics of a fascist party, and the people who are not its cronies will ask Sumanto Banerjee, if you agree with all that has been said about the CPI(M), pray tell us how Mamata will be worse?

Sumanto Banerjee might ask in reply, will Mamata be better? Insofar as she does not have any alternative to the neo-liberal programme of relying only on big capital, she will indeed follow sooner or later the same path as the CPI(M). The question of being ‘better’ doesn’t arise. But, in the beginning, she will be forced by the class composition of her party workers – a considerable part being unemployed youth from the lower middle class and the labouring classes — to take some populist measures, again like the CPI(M), just after 1977, the pressure in their case having come not only from the unemployed youth but also from the share croppers and the landless peasants. But, if anyone thinks that the TMC will take a consistently pro-people stand, rude disillusionment awaits that person.

Trying to choose between two representatives of the ruling classes always generates more heat than light. The real reason for all democratic people to unite against the CPI(M) in struggle and in elections, is not because Mamata is better, but to establish that the people can and will throw out an evil government. This will remind the ruling classes (who have forgotten 1967 and 1977?) to rein in the fascist fringe, in the only language other than gunfire which they understand – an electoral debacle, and will give confidence to the people in their fight for democracy. If the CPI(M) wins despite Singur, Nandigram , and the Harmad, many people will conclude in despondence that the struggle for democracy is useless and the only way to survive is through cronyhood. A CPI(M) victory will stop the struggle temporarily, a dispirited people cannot fight. A CPI(M) defeat will raise the spirits of the people and strengthen the movement for democracy. As the new rulers start falling into the ruts of class rule, people will learn that storming the state is much more than changing a government, but that is a different narrative.


A Reply to the response by Dipanjan Rai Chaudhuri

by Sumanta Banerjee

September 02, 2010

I read Dipanjan Rai Chaudhuri’s `first response’ to my Open Letter… I’m awaiting his final response.

But meanwhile, while reading the initial response, can I say a few words ? I understand Dipanjan’s emotions, anger, despair with the present situation in West Bengal and the role of the CPI(M). I share these sentiments. Being away from my homeland, may be I don’t have the right to suggest alternatives to people like Dipanjan who are in the midst of the struggle and know better than me. But may I humbly request Dipanjan to read again my letter ? If he did, he needn’t have wasted more than half of his letter in trying to convince me of the nefarious role of the CPI(M). If anyone reads my open letter, he/she’ll find that in my opening paragraphs, I’ve made my position clear in denouncing the CPI(M) as a sham Leftist party.

May I again request Dipanjan to read carefully the last part of my open letter ? Nowhere in that paragraph have I proposed an alternative platform to fight elections – as a third poltical party to counter the CPI(M) and Trinamul – as he assumes. In fact, the independent platform that I’m suggesting is for an alternative movement for a basic change in our socio-economic structure, not a change of the ruling party through elections. Please try to understand my position – instead of rushing to dismiss me as an indirect agent of the CPI(M) who is trying to divide the anti-CPI(M) votes in the coming elections by opposing the Trinamul ! As Dipanjan himself agrees, the upcoming (expected) change in Writers’ Building will not bring about any radical change – except an immediate relief from CPI(M) oppression and a few populist measures for the time being. Shouldn’t we therefore formulate a long-term strategy that goes beyond immediate electoral changes – instead of resorting to the opportunist tactics of electing Mamata Banerjee as a substitute for Buddhadeb Bhattacharya?

In his apology for such tactics, Dipanjan recalls the 1966 anti-Congress movement in West Bengal leading to the elections, when the Left joined the Bangla Congress to overthrow the hated Congress regime and form the United Front government. The analogy is rather inappropriate. The political character and composition of the leadership of the anti-Congress movement in those days was different from those leading the present anti-CPI(M) movement for a regime change. If you remember, the Bangla Congress (a breakaway group from the main Congress – like today’s Trinamul) was led by old Gandhians like Ajoy Mukherjee, Satish Samanta, Sushil Dhara who enjoyed some respectability because of their past record as freedom-fighters, as well as their personal life-style as honest politicians (in contrast with the present generation of Trinamul Congress leaders who are notorious for their indulgence in lumpen politics and personal aggrandizement). Besides, the Left at that time (represented by the CPI-M, CPI, RSP, Forward Blok, SUC and other parties) played a decisive role in leading the historic food movement that paved the way for a groundswell in favour of an alliance between the Gandhians and the Left. Although tensions developed between the two while sharing power during the first united front government in West Bengal, one cannot deny the historical role of their alliance that brought an end to the Congress rule in the state. Can we compare that scenario with today’s ? The political leadership of the present campaign to remove the CPI(M) from power in West Bengal is totally dominated by the Trinamul Congress (which, unlike the Bangla Congress in 1966, is a partner of the Congress ruling party at the Centre). As for the role of the Left in this campaign, while the CPI, RSP and other parties (who are partners of the CPI-M in running this corrupt and criminal regime) occasionally whimper in protesting against their `big brother’, the non-parliamentary militant section of the Left, the CPI(Maoist), has totally failed to create an alternative platform for mass mobilization against the Left Front regime. Instead, the Maoists have reduced themselves to the position of a B-team of the Trinamul Congress, acting as their mercenaries to kill CPI(M) cadres and their followers. Unlike the 1967 election campaign, today’s Trinamul Congress-led electoral campaign to overthrow the Left Front regime is totally devoid of any ideological belief and moral values – traces of which were to be found in the Gandhian manfesto of the Bangla Congress and the manifestos of the Leftist parties in the 1967, and again in the 1977 election campaigns (although many among us didn’t agree with some of their propositions, we generally supported the objectives of an alternative united front government). The Leftist ideology was on the ascendance in the anti-Congress electoral campaign in those days – although the Leftist parties betrayed the people after they were voted to power. But despite the betrayal, even today we can’t deny the need for a firm socialist ideological mooring for any movement that aims at overthrowing the present Left Front regime. In the absence of such a mooring, the present Trinamul-led electoral campaign based on the populist slogan of `Ma-maati-maanush’ may harness the votes of a disgruntled population, but can never provide the alternative that West Bengal’s people are crying out for.

In such a situation, what can we do ? There’s no easy answer. Had I been in West Bengal, I wouldn’t cast vote for either the Trinamul or CPI-M. But then what should we tell the voters ? Well, there are various ways of appealing to the electorate. In this connection, may I draw your attention to the interesting experiment being carried out in large parts of north India under the auspices of an organization called Wada-Na-Todo (meaning `Don’t break your promise’) ? It confronts candidates of different parties at every constituency in public gatherings on the eve of the elections, examines their past records, extracts commitments from them on fulfilling the demands of the constituency – and then leaves it to the voters to choose from among the candidates. It’s a form of grassroots opinion building. You can contact them on their e-mail – info@wadanatodo.net – or watch their website: www.wadanatodo.net – for further information. Why can’t the Bengali intellectuals/civil society – instead of choosing the easy options between Trinamul and CPI(M) – organize such pre-election public gatherings in villages to demand accountability from their elected MLAs, where the people can openly reject or accept the candidates on the basis of their reputation and performance ? It could lead to the election of Independents, or candidates not belonging to either of the two major contending forces – who may act as pressure groups in the legislature.

This could be one of the ways of changing the balance of forces in the next West Bengal Assembly. I’d welcome a hung-assembly in West Bengal – so that neither the Trinamul, nor the CPI-M can form and run a stable government for long, through horse-trading. This could lead to a certain period of political instability. Such a situation might create a space for an alternative movement – provided a new generation of the Left, consisting of both the ideologically committed cadres of the CPI-M, CPI, RSP, etc., and Maoists and other civil society groups get together on a common platform and agree on a coordination of flexible tactics (both constitutional and non-constitutional) in furtherance of the basic objective of a socialist transition. But then, these views of mine can be dismissed as an old man’s utopian dream, or a whistle in the wind !


Responding to Sumanta Banerjee’s reply

by Dipanjan Rai Chaudhuri

September 10, 2010

Sumanta Banerjee’s response to my letter rests to a good extent on his perception of a difference between the elections of the late sixties(and late seventies) which removed the Congress from the state government and the impending elections of 2011. Let us start from here He suggests that the 1967 alliance of the CPI(M) with Ajoy Mukherjee’s Bangla Congress was an alliance with “honest politicians” having a substantial anti-British past.

The tragedy of politicians in the fore-front of many great national and social movements is the gradual decline of their ideals and Ajoy Mukherjee and Sushil Dhara of the Tamralipta Swaraj were no exceptions. They said nothing when the 1959 food movement was brutally put down, and Ajoy Mukherjee’s complicity in the undemocratic removal of the ministries led by himself (apart from countenancing the worst forms of horse-trading of MLAs) hardly bears out Sumanta Banerjee’s charitable epithet of an “honest politician.” One has only to read Jyoti Basu’s diatribes against him to gauge how honest he remained when the chips were down.

Further, as it seems that Sumanta-da is not averse to evaluating politicians by honesty and frugality in personal life, one must admit that Mamata Banerjee’s lifestyle can bear comparison with that of any other Congresi politician, past or present. But I am surprised at Sumanto Banerjee’s concessions to the Bangla Congress, the party of Ajoy Mukherjee – it was a shelter for disgruntled Congressmen, comprising urban godfathers and quite the worst of landlords and kulaks (who were irritated by the levy clapped on rice by the Congress government) – the lowness of these forms of political life was made clear during the MLA-trading farce managed by Asu Ghosh, a Don of central Kolkata. Sumanta Banerjee is impressed also by “traces of ideological and moral values” in the 1967 election manifestoes of the Bangla Congress and the ‘Left’ parties like the CPI(M). although surely the old ‘Statesman’ hand knows how much credence need be placed on election speeches and manifestoes. If one reads the TMC election manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections one would be surprised at its ‘leftist’ stance. Also, he seeks to distinguish the ‘left’ of 1967, from its later role as traitor, by its role in the 1966 food movement. The history of the food movement awaits its John Reed, but Sumanta-da would perhaps agree with a contemporary analysis to the effect that during the movement all the top ‘leftist’ leaders were in jail, at its most intense the movement was to a great extent spontaneous, with local political foci which developed into a second rank of the leadership of the ‘leftist’ parties, significant sections of which broke off to join the Naxalites. The response of the government was release of the big leaders who promptly stopped the movement. Also, I hope Sumanta Banerjee is not underestimating the Singur and Nandigram movements which broke the jinx of compliance in West Bengal, and started a new period of resistance to injustice and brute force. The 1966 food movement was extensive with several foci. Singur and Nandigram were localized, but the movements were intensive and resonated with the aspirations of a determined peasantry. The news of peasants saying NO to land grab spread like wildfire all over Bengal, helped by the media and the grapevine, changing the attitude of the people of West Bengal into one where not a single attempt at oppression goes unchallenged now, and creating a new consciousness which was one of the factors which ignited the people’s movement in Lalgarh. The Singur and Nandigram movements brought forward a bevy of new leaders and political activists, and, rightly or wrongly, projected an image of Mamata Banerjee as a giant-killer on the side of the people.

I must say, therefore, that the Bangla Congress was a thoroughly reactionary right-wing party and the CPI(M) was all poised to betray the people and fire on the peasants of Naxalbari, directly after the elections, but support to their electoral front was justified in 1967, because the political aim of the people at the moment was the removal of the much-hated Congress government. The situation today is very similar, with the TMC playing the role of the Bangla Congress, and the removal of the CPI(M) from government being the one-point immediate demand of the people.

I hope this gives a clear reply to Sumanta Banerjee’s points.

1> Comparison between breakaway groups from the Congress who share the parental concern for big capital and big landowners is useless– in the long run their tracks will run parallel, while, for the immediate future, what is important is their relation to the immediate political aim of the people’s movement.

2> The correctness of electoral support to the ‘Left’ and the breakaway groups in 1967 and 1977 stems not from some inner Gandhian light in the latter, but simply because the people’s movement was demanding removal of the common enemy from Writers’ Buildings.

The tenor of Sumanta-da’s perceived difference between 1966 and 2011 actually arises from a nostalgia many of us share with him. The Congress were down after 19 years of oppression, corruption and misrule in favour of the money-bags and big landlords, and, we thought, the future was the people’s. What Sumanta-da is missing (and here we are again at the crux of the matter) is that the present generations have endured 30 years of oppression, corruption and misrule by the CPI(M), progressively in favour of big capital, domestic and foreign, and this is all that people who are now under 35-40 recollect having seen the CPI(M) do. Older people see the unshaven young men with torn and unlaundered pyjama-panjabi and side-bag who shared their roti and roof whizzing past now in shiny motor-cars and safari-suit or immaculate dhoti-panjabi. They live in modern flats or even own bungalows and houses, their children go to Class A English medium schools. All this the older sufferers forgave, up to 2006, to the bewilderment of the youth, because the ancients remembered a series of fights from the Tebhaga to Operation Barga and occupation of khas lands. But Singur and Nandigram were too much to forgive, the arrogance and the idiocy – it was their land the ‘Left’ sarkar were trying to snatch for an almost-free gift to big capital. Sumanta-da is peeved when the misdeeds of the CPI(M) are discussed, because he feels that he is not being credited with a proper understanding of the CPI(M). He thinks he knows all this, why repeat it? It is necessary to repeat it, not only for Sumanta Banerjee but for all of us, in West Bengal and elsewhere, because we also know, but can we feel what the mother and daughters in Nandigram, who were raped in front of one another by well- known faces of the well- known party, felt, what villagers, the men and the women, resisting some CPI(M) fiat, feel in Nanoor as they wait for the Harmad to arrive, and what Chitamoni Murmu, whose loss of an eye at the receiving end of a police musket-butt was a trigger of the original uprising in Lalgarh, feels when, backed by the joint forces, Anuj Pandey, local CPI(M) ex-ruler, and the Harmad, returns to his palace in Dharmapur, once demolished by the enraged people?

We must learn to feel like the victims and their fellow men and women to understand why the people of West Bengal look on the CPI(M) of 2010 as our generation looked on the Congress of 1966 (and, then, even Bidhan Roy had never dreamt of unleashing Congress volunteers and the armed police to rape and kill incalcitrant villagers, leave alone building a Harmad).

If we can feel like the people, we will understand why, to the present generations, overthrow of the CPI(M) in 2011 is as big and urgent a project as overthrow of the Congress was to us in 1966. Basic change of the socio-economic is always what we want, but at every moment, this movement for basic change of the socio-economic throws up an immediate problematic which must be solved to advance the movement for basic change over the momentary hurdle. Where the difference with Sumanta Banerjee occurs is here – he is for basic socio-economic change but he overlooks the immediate problematic which is removal of the CPI(M) government. If this is not done, the tempo and spirit of the people’s movement will go down and the movement ebb away.

And this is where Mamata Banerjee comes into her own, a veritable populist extraordinaire. For almost 20 years she rushed to the sides of the victims of CPI(M) oppression, wherever an incident occurred on whatever issue (for her own benefit, say you? pray, who, in politics, does something to benefit the rivals? ) . This is what the people saw, and they saw she was the only one, no left or liberal left his computer or couch, no political group mobilised its supporters to confront the CPI(M) systematically, year after year. Her fierce fights for protecting her own party cadre strengthened the image of ‘Didi’. Finally, over the last 4-5 years, the people have started seeing in her the leader of Singur and Nandigram. Facts are hard taskmasters. Like it or not, she has attained this crucial image not only through political manipulation or media exposure (the big media are mainly hostile to her) , but through actual struggle. Whatever the motive, she did fast for several days, endangering her health, and the people saw her do it. As the long oppressed often do to embolden themselves, the people of Bengal have magnified her image to a larger than life size. The long and the short of it is that the momentary hurdle can be crossed only in one way in reality – only Mamata Banerjee is popular enough to put together and lead a front today to defeat the CPI(M) at the pollbox. So, even if she will follow (suicidally) a CPI(M)-type neo-liberal agenda soon after victory (with a dictatorial style of functioning to boot), today her victory equals the defeat of the CPI(M), and a neutrality (‘Had I been in West Bengal, I wouldn’t cast vote for either the Trinamul or CPI-M,’ — SB.) will only benefit the incumbent, that is the CPI(M), even if this is not intended,

Sumanta Banerjee has also raised the Congress issue, i.e. TMC membership of the UPA. He overlooks the CPI(M)’s support to the UPA from the outside till their general secretary’s disastrous miscalculation of Lok Sabha arithmetic led them to withdraw support without the government going down (This uncharitable view is prompted by the understanding that a party ready to take on the local people again in Bengal for setting up a nuclear plant with foreign help can hardly be sincere about fighting against dependence on foreign powers through the nuclear route). The flamboyant populism of Mamata, unfortunately, prevents most people from seeing her with clear vision as an unusually earthy (and clever) leader of a parliamentary party, with her sights fixed Arjun-like on Writers’ Buildings – circumscribed by definite class leanings, but neither a witch to be burnt at the stake, nor a messianic phenomenon to be worshipped. Sumanta-da evidently tilts towards the former image, his bias getting the better of his astuteness as a political analyst, otherwise why cannot he see the game Soniaji is playing with Sitaram Yechury and Mamata Banerjee, giving each some hope and stringing both along, stoking the fires of antagonism between them, so that at any given moment the Congress enjoys the support of at least one of the two groups of MPs in the Lok Sabha, if not of both. Mamata has been rewarded with the Railways ministry and is not disturbed in her use of the resources of the ministry in Bengal politics, in spite of the shouts of the CPI(M). The CPI(M) was clearly helped by the Congress by its late decision against a front with the TMC in the recent civic polls (So, the game continues even after the CPI(M) withdrew support.). The CPI(M) has been brought back to rule over the jangal mahal by the joint forces in spite of loud, though belated protests by the TMC. As far as inclination and capability of using the Centre against the people of Bengal goes, the CPI(M) is at par with the TMC, in spite of the latter’s membership of the UPA.

Sumanta Banerjee is very angry with the Maoists for shifting from their stand of ‘untouchability’ of the TMC. While one can agree substantially with his charge that “the CPI(Maoist), has totally failed to create an alternative platform for mass mobilization against the Left Front regime”, the word “totally” means that he is ignoring the one positive step in this direction, the PCPA in its early avatar.. But, even strong critics of the Maoists and their programme of individual killing of CPI(M) supporters will find it difficult to accept that the Maoists did this as mercenaries of the TMC and as their B-team, as suggested by Sumanta Banerjee. In fact, the TMC showed marked political naivete in failing to understand for a long time that the aim of the joint forces was to re-instate the CPI(M) rule overthrown by the people’s movement in the early period of the PCPA. This policy was corrected by the TMC with fanfare in the recent Lalgarh meeting, a mass mobilization which ought to be appreciated as a powerful statement in favour of the mass activity so desired by many well-wishers of the Lalgarh movement. From Chanakya to Mao, political theorists have been emphasizing what is really a piece of common sense : in fighting against your main target, if possible, unite everybody who can be united including other enemies. Naturally when you go to sup with an enemy you should take with you a long spoon.

I am very glad to have to admit that Sumanta Banerjee did not say that his idea of the third platform included putting up electoral candidates. I am glad because this means that when the dust of debate over the elections settles I shall be in complete agreement with his basic proposal to build a principled platform for a people’s movement in which civil society will have an important role to play. (In self-defence, I quote the part in Sumanta-da’s letter which misled me : “A movement for a third option? In the present bi-polar political situation in West Bengal, the people are left with no choice but the CPI(M) or the Trinamul only. ” The other two options being definitely electoral, I thought that the proposed third was of the same type.)

His espousal of the ‘accountability of candidates campaign’ offers a do-able programme of mass opinion building. Once again, however, Sumanta-da underestimates the degree of polarization in Bengal. In 2011, no-one is going to vote for persons instead of parties, no one is going to give a damn whether the candidate is an impecunious idealist or a party muscle-man ( I agree we should campaign against this), and to adapt an idiom of the bongs, in 2011 people will be ready to vote even for lamp-posts set up by their party of choice.

But it will be difficult to extend the accountability programme into anything much more than time pass for the non-CPM non-TMC person in election-time. Taken to its logical conclusion it advocates partyless democracy, a well-known Pandora’s box. Let me just point out that the official ceiling for expenditure in Vidhan Sabha elections is Rs Ten lakhs (to win I suppose you must spend a few times this amount). A party-less person may be a fool but not so great a fool as to spend Rs 50 lakhs to lose gloriously. Because lose he will in the polarized atmosphere. Very few punters will vote for him – the miniscule who have no strong feelings for or against the CPI(M). But this election is all about the CPI(M) — a huge accountability programme, in fact, and one politically much more relevant in 2011 than the man to man accountability proposed. And so, I do not also see any third space candidate winning, I do not see any third space group using a hung Vidhan Sabha. If you think you have had enough of CPI(M) you must express yourself the hard way by walking to the election booth and voting against the CPI(M). Anything short of this will help the CPI(M) and show that you have not had a bellyful of CPI(M) yet.

The elections are transitory, a momentary problematic, important this time because a change in government is imperative. We are being shown a demonized Mamata to frighten us. Imagine another 5 years of the CPI(M). Which is more frightening?

The real problem is, of course, building the platform for the people’s movement for democracy, whoever wins.

Every group of Left activists believes itself to be the core of the future party and treats other groups with arrogance and perhaps enmity. There is even contradiction between individuals.

Mobilisation is maximal for one’s own organization and token for most united efforts.

Many organizations are habitually satisfied with the small numbers which turn up. Nobody is prepared to analyse why and how 60,000 people came out in Kolkata to protest against the atrocities in Nandigram, nor the way to build a platform to call them back.

How to call them back?
We have ruled out two negatives.
Subservience to the CPI(M) and the status quo will not do.
Dependence on the TMC for change will not do.
Will not the democratic youth of today work out a positive way?


62 Responses to “West Bengal – A Debate on the support to Mamata Banerjee”

  1. Jesse Ross Knutson Says:
    August 24th, 2010 at 01:34

    Beautiful. This is a major statement. Take heed intellectuals and antelectuals of Bengal!

  2. Arijit Says:
    August 24th, 2010 at 02:35

    This is not the first time these points have been raised. Many people, some of them may have had associations with the CPI(M), have raised such concerns time and again. Unfortunately though, in most forums, such voices have been trampled with a typical partisan attitude – the same attitude shown by a majority of CPI(M) followers. Still I believe it’s better late than never – thanx to Sanhati for publishing this. But will anyone answer?

  3. Shomak Says:
    August 24th, 2010 at 06:19

    Sumanta Banerjee is asking Subhaprasanna to stand up for socialism? Is this a joke? There are immediate tasks and long term tasks. Sumanta Banerjee may or may not have belief in parliamentary democracy as a method of deliverance to people, but a vast many do. Given the reality of elections, what does Sumanta Banerjee suggest people do in the year or less that is left.Create conditions of return of CPI(M) with a slimmer majority? Such tasks can only be taken after the removal of power of CPI(M) is ensured. People with marginal to no political stakes ( Sumanta Banerjee not included) can taken even more righteous and radical positions. People will fart on these positions and vote for Trinamul – not because Trinamul is some avatar of goodness but it has staked out position within the electoral system which few parties of useful strength in India have ever done, especially in the last 20 years, post-Manmohanics.Entry-ism to Trinamul is an option that the righteous may not like, but has the best chance of having a different mass-effect. Nothing is guaranteed but the return of CPI(M) has to be ruled out.

  4. Arijit Says:
    August 24th, 2010 at 08:44

    There can be no argument if one thinks that the immediate task is to replace Stalin with Hitler.

  5. uttal Says:
    August 24th, 2010 at 13:46

    dear all,
    we should try to change the political culture of bengal. we, some ordinary people, formed JANACHETANA MANCHA, against political violence and in favour of sustainable development. hope all of u will join with us.
    visit our site http://www.janachetana.org

  6. sajalmitra Says:
    August 24th, 2010 at 14:54

    Ilike to ask whether people of w.b.paticipatein forthcoming assemblyelection? If paticipatewhom tovote-cpl-m ortmc?we know the limitationof TMC.Inspiteof thatpeople of w.b. no other choicein absence ofthird alternative.As you remember ,to defeat the emergency people rallied behind janatadal with an expectation to restore and reestablish the parliamentry democracy. In this contextpeople of w. b. has no other alternative.But overall view expressed by s.banerjee should keep in mind andactcordingly after the fallof allimuddin.

  7. sajalmitra Says:
    August 24th, 2010 at 14:58

    Ilike to ask whether people of w.b.paticipatein forthcoming assemblyelection? If paticipatewhom tovote-cpl-m ortmc?we know the limitationof TMC.Inspiteof thatpeople of w.b. no other choicein absence ofthird alternative.As you remember ,to defeat the emergency people rallied behind janatadal with an expectation to restore and reestablish the parliamentry democracy. In this contextpeople of w. b. has no other alternative.But overall view expressed by s.banerjee should keep in mind and act accordingly after the fallof allimuddin.

  8. ayub mohammed Says:
    August 24th, 2010 at 15:29

    What sense would emerge by toppling cpi (m) and making mamata as chief minister in the Bengal, by sacrificing hundred of deaths on the name of revolution where the cpi(m) is an alliance indirectly in the upa-2 government, in central level, and mamata is also a partner indirectly in the same government,? If mamata guarantee for such step in toppling the west Bengal government, she should accept at least five cabinet ministers’ posts in her government including the home ministry to those who would be nominated by those who are in the deal. Otherwise no deal would be helpful to the initiators in the case of betrayal of mamata in the implementation of the deal. Old practices did not teach lessons yet while entering into agreement with the fraudulent party on such treaties

  9. Sankar Ray Says:
    August 24th, 2010 at 23:40

    I do not like to comment on the content of the letter although I have differences with the opinion expressed. I would only submit that the girl who climbed on the bonnet of JP’s car “and danced while her followers smashed the windscreen and JP had a hair breadth of an escape” was not Mamata Banerjee. Her name was Pratibha something, then a resident of Howrah district.Had she been Mamata Banerjee, the CPI(M) would have used the photograph in electoral campaign against the Trinamool Congress and its supremo. No newspaper mentioned Mamata Banerjee’s name. Mr Sumanta Banerjee ought to have been careful before relying on the hearsay-based information, instead of indulging in slanderous statement. Few people know that Mamata Banerjee had a brief association with the Democratic Student Organisation, student front of SUCI, before 1977.

  10. rajat mukherjee Says:
    August 25th, 2010 at 05:54

    pl guide how to topple CPIM from the govt in a democratic route. If that cannot be provided pl comeforward and ask vote for CPIM directly dont take the shield of fake bengal lover and dont spread false info.

  11. shyamal bhatt. Says:
    August 25th, 2010 at 06:38

    sumanto babus bias
    against mamata is obvious.in his stride of mamata bashing he has completely forgotten her roles in last three years..be it singur or nadigram n also partly lalgarh….its true she is no god and to bring her to power duznt mean bringing heaven’s rule on earth but then sumanta babu’s nonexistant imaginary third option is no god either…..its a sort of infantile logic that is being put by as eminent an intelctual as sumantababu…and thus helping cpm by default

  12. Amitabha Kar Says:
    August 25th, 2010 at 09:19


    What is the third option? Sumanta Banerjee , instead of explaining this, unnecessarily wasted his time to dig-out Mamata’s past. Every conscious independent minded people is well aware what quality of goods Mamata and her party is delivering and will deliver after the Assembly election in 2011.

    In Lalgarh rally she raised the issue of Azad’s assassination a fact her colleagues Manamohan-Pranab-Chidambaram clique is desperately trying to suppress. Raising this issue in open rally at a place like Lalgarh is her positive aspect. We should bear this quantitative change in mind. At the same breath, she expressed her desire to act as a peace broker between the Maoists and her Government if the former absolve violence.

    Instead of trying to isolate Mamata from her loyal intellectuals, Sumanta should proceed from this positive aspect and urge them to get Mamata convinced that it is her government who had unleashed an unprecedented reign of violence on the vast toiling masses of India in general and tribal sons of the soil from Chattishgarh. Andhra Pradesh Orissa, Jharkhand and Jangalmahal of West Bengal in particular to serve the interest of the big national, international corporate sharks. Their back pressed against the corner of the wall, these tribal sons of the soil find no other way except armed resistance for mere survival and self defense under the leadership of CPI (Maoists). So it is the repressive state who must have to first stop the violence against its own people, not the Maoists, to create an atmosphere for peace negotiation.

    These intellectuals should press Mamata to raise her voice in the Parliament asking the Prime Minister and Home Minister to first stop violence if it genuinely want peace in that region.

    This is the correct approach of forming a broad united front “to draw to our side all those in the enemy camp….., and those who were enemies yesterday but may our friend today”. (Mao Tse-Tung Volume-I, Page 164; “On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism”; Foreign Language Press-1977)

    If those intellectuals take the move to insist Mamata in above mentioned line, they are welcome in the revolutionary camp otherwise they will prove themselves as a counterfeit currency.

    It is clear to all the conscious minded people that Mamata is playing the Maoist card for her narrow self-interest to counter the CPI-M domination and establish her strong foothold in Jangalmahal area eying to the next Assembly election in 2011.

    The Maoists too, on the other hand should play the Mamata card (in actual practice they are doing so supporting Mamata’s rally in Lalgarh and afterward Kishenji’s statement stipulating the conditions for talks) in order to sharpen the contradiction in the enemy camp and expose the hypocrisy of the Government’s intention for peace negotiation – thus advancing a step forward to win over a section of intermediate and backward middle class masses for their cause.

    In January, this year Ganapathi, the General Secretary of CPI(Maoists) had discussed at length about establishing a broad united front in an interview with Gautam Navlakha and Jan Myrdal (a Swedish Journalist). “Comrades, Maoist party would like becoming a centre for the people of the country and their development, represent their aspirations”.

    Discussing about win over the friends he said, “At present several forces are lined up against the enemy. We have to let them develop too. In the united front on some issues, there would also be representatives of oppressive classes. We can not expect them join our ranks, which is a long way ahead. Right now we need to firmly stick to our strategic goal, and for that tactically we need to remain flexible.
    “More clearly, there are two different kinds of United Fronts. One, between people, and the other between people and enemy (a section/group/persons from enemy classes) using the contradictions among the enemy. Party has to do that. This scope is there to some extent on some issues. We call it the indirect reserves of the revolution which can be used carefully. If we have clear understanding that they are not our class allies, then we would not have right opportunist deviations. We need united fronts of this kind for the success of the revolution”.
    I am therefore requesting Sumanta Banerjee and his alike other intellectuals (Amitava Bhattacharya, GS of Mazdoor Kranti Parishad in his article “Support to Mamata Banerjee’s 9th Aug’ Rally – A Capitulation to the Right Forces” pasted in Sanhati dated 16.08 10) to fight against the ideology of close-doorism and work for a broad based united front against the main enemy as mentioned by CPI (Maoists) GS Ganapathy.

  13. Arijit Says:
    August 25th, 2010 at 09:33

    Allow me to revert back to my mother tongue and draw an analogy.

    কাবুলে একটা চলতি প্রবাদ ছিলো – “বাঘ হতে ভয়ানক অরাজক দেশ”। মুজতবা তার সাথে একটা লাইন যোগ করেছিলেন – “তারও বাড়া ডাকু পরে রাজবেশ”

    As the Geordies say – “Nuff said”:-)

  14. Sardara singh Mahil Says:
    August 25th, 2010 at 10:04

    A very godd piece indeed,not only some intellectuals but c.p.i.[maoist] too is following the same course.Maoist pbm ,kishenji’s statemet appeared in the press, saying that he want to see ms.Mamta banerjee as the next chief minister of west bengal.these friends are simply ignoring the class chractor of TMC,which is nothing but a ruling class- party like congress and BJP.If she is opposing the deployment of security forces in jangl mahal that is only to garner the votes of anti-CPM forces.Maoists have implemented this line in AP by supporting YSR and result is there for everybody to see,they have been almost smashed inAP.Communist are different from others that they learn from their mistakes and no repeat them,but it seems thatMaoists are andament on not learning from their own experience.WHere this aproach will take them , they should ponder over this.

  15. Trevor Selvam Says:
    August 25th, 2010 at 10:37

    Sumanta Banerjee maybe right on all counts. But this is all infructuous.And Mahasweta Devi, despite herself, may have also gone somewhat out of line. However, this is not about parties, affiliations, frustrations or even so-called principles.This is not about regime change either. This has to do with alliances to stave off a dangerous turn in history. Everyone knows that Mamata hates the CPM enough (after all they have used every possible sexist hyperbole and abuse against her and the CPM has virtually suggested that she be given the same treatment that CPM cadres did to displaced peasants in Nandigram–which is rape)

    A deeper historical cognizance needs to be invoked. Going back to the 30s.
    Does one understand how a United Front works during a period of near civil war? OK not civil war, lets say, bloody skirmishes, where internecine killings are rampant now between the PCAPA and CPM harmads (called Gram Pratirodh-my arse) .

    This is not about electoral alliances, like the old UFs in Bengal politics. What are the classes behind this confabulation? Does one understand that United Front has to do with building necessary class alliances? Who are the classes that are uniting under the banner of Mamata? Surely not the industrial working class (even though their unions are quite strong). BUT, they are also not uniting India’s big bourgeoisie, for that matter. The thirty family conglomerates that make up 1/3 of India’s GDP. They despise Mamata. Do you think Montek and Kamal Nath are in love with Mamata? They see her like a troll perhaps. In Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, there is a description of trolls. They live in the mountains, or under bridges and culverts. They are generally opposed to beauty or reason and are very combative, temperamental and often nonsensical in terms of their pronouncements. Trolls change their appearances to deceive the ones they dont like….their enemies, who are often “fair maidens”–which by the way could be construed as the politics of the modern day high priests/priestesses of “leftism.”. Medha Patkar is no idiot. In fact she has a deep sense of history, after NBA. So does Agnivesh. HE has fought many battles in the North for the poor.
    What classes does Mamata’s Trinamool stand for? Could they be uniting the lower middle classes and a section of the rural peasantry? Or, are they promoting the Ranvir Sena or Judum style politics of fission between castes and tribes? Think about it. If it is the latter than there is no basis for aligning with her. But is she? Are the Trinamool like Laloo and Mulayam, who have so many progressive things to say but are essentially aligned to castes. Or is she developing a following, yes vote bank, from the rural and urban dispossesed and displaced….Is she a democrat? Hell no! She is not. And Sumanta Banerjee is right in that sense. She was trained in the goon brigades of Subrata Mukherjee, Priyaranjan and SS Ray.

    Does one remember how the Chinese were able to benefit from several United Fronts? Some stayed. Some broke down. Some were losses, but most were a gain. Why? BEcause if you analyse what you are bringing together, you may benefit. Do these intellectiuals have this understanding? I dont know. What do you do when you are getting encircled and must retreat. What do you do when you are not at the level of a strategic stalemate, in fact far from it? Maybe it is Machiavellian after all..to buy time, to reorganize…why not admit to it…For guerillas in the hills and mountains, they need the time to build communes or soviets or collectives..if they cannot, they are doomed…Party cadres must build a new society, make the lives of the those who they fight for, better, efficient and healthier…. Not just carry out ambushes…A new alternative, fortified , remote and strong society. The only way the Phillipine army can get into 1/3 of the country that is under the NPA is by helicopter and I tell you it aint easy. So, the insurgents need breathing time, breathing space, to build inaccessible areas….and not become roving guerillas…..but for sure, if one allows the CPIM to continue in Bengal, it is giving the green light to a completely social fascist culture, that is closely tied in with a rising upper class of a new bourgeoisie, a mongrelized upper middle class that has been created by neo-liberalization. The CPIM represents this new bourgeosie. Not the old old big bourgeoisie. If it is true that India has 200 million middle class then it is worth it to have them on your side. And that is what the CPM has always been after. After all look at the CPMs coffers. Where is it coming from? Look at Bengal. Who runs the CPMs coffers…all the sons of the former compradors of Bengal…
    So getting back to the question of Mahasweta and all these people, it is really a turning point. If you do not kick out the CPM this time, (by any mean necessary-Malcolm X) you will be licking your wounds. BEcause kicking them out is only one thing…they have installed their people in the bureaucracy….So let Mamata get up there and do her trolling. Whatever i is, if it was not for her, the Azad killing would not get some more momentum. She has thrown a spanner into the spokes of the neo-liberal juggernaut…for a while, and that is OK… I am not worried that some of these intellectuals have thrown in their lot with Mamata. There is no third front. CPIML Liberation went all the way toPunjab to find a dissident section of the CPM to form a third front with them. They cannot build a third front in Bengal? They should talk to these same intellectuals, RSP,SUC, independent NGO groups, Medhat Patkar…but no..they are building alliances with other Marxists. That is party building not Class alliance…

  16. J Ghosh Says:
    August 25th, 2010 at 10:43

    Read with interest Mr Banerjee’s critique (read assault ) of the CPI(M). I fail to understand how a person like Sumanta Banerjee can make such sweeping generalisation of the CPI(M) rule in Bengal and Kerala (don’t know why he has benevolently left out Tripura– perhaps, the north-east doesn’t exist for intellectuals). True, there have been issues of might is right, poor governance and favouritism but can we wish away the positive fallout of land reforms, spreading the reach of education, reassertion of democracy and democratic traditions/ values after the dark days of the 70s. The list can be elaborated. In his blind sweep of anti-CPMism, the biggest casualty has been truth. Those plain truths that Banerjee desperately sweeps under the carpet to facilitate his political postion and diatribe against the CPM.

  17. shyamal bhatt. Says:
    August 25th, 2010 at 14:11

    @j ghosh…you should rathar be grateful to sumanta babu….for provididing you the last straws…..halfhearted land reform in early 80s wont compensate for your utter failure in all the fields…health education food guarantee, roads …and what not!party men getting fatter on favvouratism and cut money ……all in da name of leftism…..shame shame

  18. Shamik Sarkar Says:
    August 26th, 2010 at 02:38

    Thanks for Sumanta Banerjee’s late intervention in alarming a section of intellectuals of West Bengal. In fact, most of them are media figures and lack any social contribution other than shouting before corporate media and activist’s microphone. Shouting compels people to pay attention. That’s another story.
    The incident which triggered Banerjee’s letter is the 9th August Rally in Lalgarh. The Rally was endorsed by these intellectuals to the amount that they occupied the chairs closest to the Stage, often called upon by Mamata and other Trinamool leaders in microphone as Debuda, Sujatoda, Asokenduda etc. One or two of them sat on the Stage for a long time. Bratya, Debabrata, Mahashweta, and of course Medha and Agnivesh gave speeches. The huge Stage was set in front of a 3-storied school building. The roof of the building was occupied by CRPF. At least 3 makeshift camps were visible there from the school ground. The roads leading to Lalgarh were populated by CRPF jawans. The security of the Rally, dubbed as `anti-terror’ rally was guaranteed by CRPF, the gun-carrying State Force whose existence itself is a terror to the villagers for last one year.
    The meeting, attended by 20-25 thousand people, half of them were locals. Local people came in processions, carrying large banners of ‘nari ijjat bachao komiti’ (Committee to save the honour of women), ‘chatro somaj’ (Students community) which are newly founded outfits by the maoists in Junglemahal. I didn’t see any banner of PCAPA there. I think this is a decision by the maoists to conform to the State and the TMC as PCAPA is accused of various criminal activities in the eyes of law. All the processions of this kind which I could see there held a number of PCAPA Flags (white-green background, red bow-arrow imprinted or hand-drawn on it), and at least one TMC flag (flower and grass, sometimes an image of Mamata imprinted on it). Both the `Chatro Somaj’ and ‘Nari Ijjat …’ and USDF (United Students Democratic Front, a cpi(maoist) leaning organization based in Kolkata) spread 3 separate leaflets there. It seems to me that the meeting was organised with full assistance of the maoists and PCAPA, because as per as my knowledge, TMC has marginal base there in Lalgarh-Junglemahal and in course of last one year all open parties excluding PCAPA and CPI (Marxist) have become signboards only. PCAPA has been fully driven by Maoists, even when they talked different.
    All the speakers in the rally talked of peace, which is what the people of Junglemahal lasting for nowadays, as per as my knowledge. Mamata, last speaker, talked of peace. She talked maximum to call upon maoists to leave violence. She didn’t mention OGH, kept mum on the atrocities by the joint forces (she never used the term joint force, rather chose to say ‘joint venture’), mentioned the killing of Azad in the slightest of the ways in the context of the process to set `maoist to leave violence’. The mood was straight : how to tame maoists! I didn’t find any thorough rejection of what Mamata said there by any important leaders of maoist till now. But I heard of Kishenji saying that they would populate the rally by Mamata a couple of days before the rally.

    Sumanta Banerjee mentioned about the guilt which drives middle-class intellectuals to align themselves with ‘pro-poor’ political forces. `In (our) efforts to identify (our)selves with the under-privileged’, intellectuals often deceived by pro-poor images. Instead, intellectuals should go for pro-poor ideologies, and organize `liberal-democratic and left forces’, Sumanta asserts. Isn’t the lineage to pro-poor ideologies also a guilt-driven move by middle-class intellectuals, I wonder? Isn’t that the very same guilt prohibits Sumanta to criticise maoists who are doing the very same thing what intellectuals are doing? Sumanta may have rightly pointed out the `guit-trip’ of ‘Bengali intellectuals’, but how can he explain the crisis of ideology-driven politics in other states and perhaps in other nations also?

  19. 3M Says:
    August 26th, 2010 at 03:34


    I urge you to read it. Some may find the last paragraph extremely enlightening.

  20. Rangan Says:
    August 26th, 2010 at 04:17

    This phenomenon of one intellectual writing to other intellectuals (sic) is a curious facet of Bengali politics. Probably other than France, no other ethnic group are so much enamored with this epithet- “intellectual”. I presume this to be an inheritance of our nineteenth century history. Economic or finance capital have always eluded Bengali elite class. Instead of that, the class positions in the society have mostly been determined by what Pierre Bourdieu called the “cultural capital”. More “cultural capital” you possess, more dominant you are in Bengali class hierarchy. Interestingly, though these intellectuals have their “voice” because of their “cultural capital”, there is an ever-widening gulf between “cultural choices” of them and “cultural choices” of the people. This is a paradox of a decaying society stuck in a groove. I came across an illuminating TMC graffiti yesterday- “shaheed smaraNe aapan maraNe raktaRiN shodh karo.” That’s what is called “stuck in a groove”- intellectuals or no intellectuals, CPI(M) or no CPI(M).

  21. shyamal bhatt. Says:
    August 26th, 2010 at 15:52

    @rangan…’these intellectuals have their voice’…well,are you not one of them?….if not you wudnt have bn here ….lol…and if you are one of them …come straight to the point…oust cpm or save cpm by default…..?

  22. shyamal bhatt. Says:
    August 26th, 2010 at 16:10

    intellectuals writing to intellectuals attract intellectuals….rangan is a good example…..he pours his brain out…all intelects…without even touching the crux of the debate…better he judges for himself ..in what groove he is stuck in willingly or unknowingly

  23. Rangan Says:
    August 26th, 2010 at 22:48

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Mr. Bhat,
    Than are dreamt of in your single-track philosophy.

  24. shyamal bhatt. Says:
    August 27th, 2010 at 17:13

    your quote,however smart it may look, is actually an apology….to your failure to address the topic properly. verbose intelection and name or quote dropping wont save your lack of understanding of the current topic or may be,mr rangan,you have real multi-track philosophical wisdom, to give you benefit of doubt,….well we are eager to be enlightened…pls just dnt drop names or quotes

  25. anirban biswas Says:
    August 28th, 2010 at 02:56

    Sumanta. B . have done a valuable job. Raised provocative questions about the ambigious questions on the position of the bengalee intellectuals on supporting Mamata , It is very obvious the place earned by CPIM in 34 years, but the hollow and dubious position ( we can say the opportunist position )of the intellectuals , not being blind to the role of the intelligentia we should think upon the great role of working class. and the lack of indipendent and thgoughful historical correct position of the intellectuals. We should concentrate on those two) workers plus intellectual) things. For exemple, why Sumanta can’t criticise the maoists in the same logic he used to criticise the intelle…. It shows the vaccum or directionlessness of the thought of our age. But thankful to Sumanta. B. to assertively put the question to intellectual. I’ll later write on my opinion on the Sumant’s detailed on the unclear place of socalled intel… It would be a large one. So……

  26. M. Mukherjee Says:
    August 28th, 2010 at 08:09

    Mr. S. Banerjee has expressed his malicious attitude to Mamata Banerjee. To defame her he has called her as ‘unscrupulous’, ‘oppoutunist’ etc. etc. But why? Is she doing anything for herself? Being a member of the Central Cabinet she is trying to do something good for the State as well as for the country, in Sumanta Babu’s view it allows her to distribute largesse to her minions in West Bengal. She went to Lalgarh to make an appeal to Maoists to come to the normal life at the same time to focus the CPIM’s atrocities to the people of Jangalmahal, and both the Govts.(Central& State) have made security arrangements to prevent any suspected untoward incident-but Mr. Banerjee raise the question-why does she allow herself to be surrounded by the security forces blamed for tormenting in Jangalmahal? But who has disallowed the entry of other revoutionaries, like you, to enter there before Mamata? even our C.M., Buddhu Babu could have gone there with the same security arrangement to understand the ground realities. But sorry, nobody have such guts like Mamata Banerjee. Earlier also she had gone there before L.S. election and without being a member of the Central Cabinet. Further, I would say that the girl who climbed on the bonnet of JP’s car “and danced while her followers smashed the windscreen and JP had a hair breadth of an escape” was not Mamata Banerjee. She was different girl- probably a resident of Howrah. Though the time was around 1975-76, and at that time Mamata was only 20 years of age and most of us might have done some misdeeds in that period of our lives. Even Gandhiji, a great patriot of India, did so many misdeeds, which is written in his auto-biography.

  27. harsh Says:
    August 28th, 2010 at 13:22

    An insignificant correction. CPM may be the 4th richest party on ‘disclosed assets’ but it will be way behind if ‘undisclosed assets’ are also included.

  28. Suvendu Das Says:
    August 29th, 2010 at 00:55

    Too much to read…organise in your own factory…stand on your own…nothing will emancipate us before we are organised…

  29. Koka Mushtaq Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 05:54

    great the imperialists are at work. despite all that you may still face a possible defeat.

  30. Shashi Sonawane Says:
    September 1st, 2010 at 02:58


    These are serious observations made by Sumanta Banerjee and they cannot be brushed aside.
    As an activist associated with the anti-SEZ struggle in Raigad against Mukesh Ambani’s MahaMumbai SEZ through its committee – MahaMumbai Shetkari Sangharsh Samiti, we have observed that the intellectuals who are genuinely supporting the anti-land grabbing struggles and fighting against the anti-people policies of governments unfortunately have been a confused lot.Whether parliamentary or non-parliamentary every agitation has political implication. It is for the activists, leaders intellectuals who have to define political line of the struggle.

    In case of West Bengal, though the peasants, adivasis and masses in general have been in forefront in the struggles, there has been confusion regarding political line. Apparently, the choices have been very few. On the one hand is the CPM led left front govt. which under the garb of red flag has been consistently pursuing anti-people policies and on the other hand is the outright lumpen reactionary force of Mamata Didi’s Trinamool Congress and its unholy alliance with the Maoists. The intellectuals and opinion makers in Bengal seem to be split between these two camps and it seems there is no alernative. This is pathetic. I think the problem is with the approach. Intellectuals need to relate themselves with the toiling masses instead of identifying themselves with leaders of political parties or civil society groups (NGOs).

    With regards,

    Shashi Sonawane
    National Convenor – Yuva Bharat

  31. Rankit Says:
    September 1st, 2010 at 05:21

    Mr.Banerjee has tried to create a dense fog in his writing. Very cleverly he has tried to save the notorious culprits who have already done a great damage to the State during their 34 years rule. Past glory of the State has been destroyed in a systematic manner and it is shame to us that now the State is being compared to Bihar, U.P. and other backward States, though erstwhile backward States have advanced a lot from their negative mark. The future of average Bengalees, living in West Bengal,are bleak, those who are marching ahead with the burning candle stick of Bengal, most of them are educated in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and other places out of Bengal. Here, General people in W.B. have lost their independent thinking. Till 1967, before the so-called leftists (mainly CPIM) gained momentum in the political arena, general people of West Bengal, except a few, were getting afraid of corruption but the situation changed rapidly after Left led by CPIM are at the helm of affairs in the State. In such a situation some of the village panchayats occupied by Trinamool Congress may not be free from corruption & intimidation. Even the imaginary third front, if it comes into existence, will not be free from that. So why unnecessarily he is spreading the bogus idea to obstruct the wave of ‘Paribartan’. It is a democratic process and something good may be achieved only in this process.

  32. pradip kar Says:
    September 1st, 2010 at 05:58

    The democratic people of West Bengal knows her political vision and past history very well. But at present the demand of the masses of W.B. to throwout the Left Front Govt. at any cost. This Govt. is now reflects as “social facist” in Bengal.

  33. Baidurya Says:
    September 1st, 2010 at 09:44

    Sumanta Banerjee’s anguished words convey nothing new really; the only way to read them fruitfully is to read them symptomatically. What does Sumanta Banerjee really want? What is the fundamental desire he is expressing here? Short and simple: an intellectual-run and intellectual-defined political formation (it is instructive how the intellectual always ‘imagines’ itself as the ‘alternative’). And the only question to be asked (of ourselves): what does THAT mean?

    Firstly, in Sumanta Banerjee’s portrayal of Bengal politics, there is a certain predominance of the ‘cultured’, the ‘educated socialists’ etc. It is a progressive narrative: the ‘progress’ of the socialist ethics has been blocked by material ‘fetters’, which needs to be destroyed, thrown out etc. The ‘mistake’, then, the intellectuals (like Mahashweta Devi and Shubhaprasanna) are committing here is a doubling, a ‘making-the-same-mistake-we-once-made’, that is, to use the ‘fetters’ (read, a ‘hooligan’ named Mamata Banerjee) themselves to get rid of the fetters!! It, therefore, follows that these fetters, these ‘bad elements’ (CPIM hooligans or Trinamool, does not matter), are external, accidental, and against the ‘true’ goodness of the Bengali Socialist culture!! Sumanta Banerjee’s narrative is valuable precisely because it gives vent to the supremacist and culturalist ideology of the urban, and suburban Bengali bourgeoisie in an exemplary manner (I agree with Rangan here)!!

    On the contrary, what has happened with Singur and Nandigram is that the cultural hegemony of the ‘political intellectuals’ has lost its grip over the socio-political reality of Bengal. A historical analysis of the CPI(m) Raj will show you that the figure of the ‘organic intellectual’, the “mastermoshai” or the “kakababu”, has lost its symbolic and material influence over the rural and urban poor (for whatever reason). The “passive revolution”-kind of linkage between the ‘ruler’ and the ‘ruled’ was organized around such figures of intellectuals, and the class organization from which such intellectuals came is gone, is lost to us!! Look at the whole Nandigram phenomenon: on one hand, there is the ‘civil society’, with its anguish over political decorum, values of procedural democracy; on the other, the frankly ‘violent’ and unruly conflicts between the state and the subaltern (implying the urban and rural poor, in this case) class. If today, Mahashweta Devi-s are trying so hard to talk FOR the subaltern, it is not because it is the their “moral duty” as such, it is because they cannot talk about the subaltern ‘organically’, they have no connection with them whatsoever, they cannot experience the subaltern without THE MEDIUM OF MORALITY, an abstraction only hiding their alienation!! Thus, the creation of viable political formation can no longer be ‘termed’ by these intellectuals anymore (Mr Banerjee included). Political formations are now being created at the level of the conflict between the people and the state, and these ‘civil society’ people, whose existence does not depend on the material nature of the state, can only choose one among the two (or three, or whatever). The ‘civil society’ arguments, including that of Mr Banerjee’s, are hapless bourgeois attempts at hiding this disjunction, this impotence!! Mr banerjee has gone one step further here. Mahashweta Devi-s at least implicitly acknowledge (through their actions, and not with their words, obviously) that the formation of political alternatives has acquired a life of its own and gone out of the grips of these Bourgeois intellectuals. MR Banerjee, on the other hand, has refused to see this altogether, and is still delusional about the ‘power of the intellectual’ in building the ‘third front’! He should go and join Prakash Karat and happily daydream about everything ‘third’!
    Mr Sumanta Bnerjee, it is imperative for an ‘intellectual’ to understand one’s own class position, relation, and ‘reality’ as constraints, as essential ‘limits’; without which there can be no ‘socialist ethics’. Are you sure you are ‘ethical’ enough?

  34. Haridas Says:
    September 2nd, 2010 at 11:46

    We have had enough of ideology and belief. Now it’s time for some positive action. I don’t mind anybody delivering good governance not being a socialist. Sumanta babu has somehow confused the electoral politics with civil society movement. Supporting TMC doesn’t mean that the person cannot be part of the civil society movement. In fact these intellectuals themselves will oppose TMC if they become another CPI(M) in few years.

  35. Amitayus Says:
    September 2nd, 2010 at 13:31

    In fact these intellectuals themselves will oppose TMC if they become another CPI(M) in few years.

    Wishful thinking. As if these intellectuals have descended on earth from the stratosphere taking pity on the plight of us lesser mortals. But the fact of the matter remains that a number of them had earlier survived on the crumbs of CPM.

    The option before us is loud and clear, hegemony or anarchy. The latter will not lead us only to abysmal pits which can be said with certainty judging by the actions of their great leader. A leader who speaks anything and everything except the truth, will go to ANY extent, repeat ANY extent just to capture power. A leader who keeps mum on nuclear liability bill, keeps mum on other reactionary measures taken by the UPA Govt yet desperate to embrace the Maoists, also has SUCI as bed fellows, may not even object to support BJP if ever needed. Is this called “Paribartan”? Is this “positive action”?

    I may not support Bush, but need I stand beside Osama if no other choice is given?

  36. Haridas Says:
    September 2nd, 2010 at 13:52

    “A leader who speaks anything and everything except the truth, will go to ANY extent, repeat ANY extent just to capture power.”

    Quite true assessment of current WB chief minister. Thanks.

    “may not even object to support BJP if ever needed.”

    Yes, we remember the Jyoti Basu-Vajpayee raising one another’s hand in Brigade.

  37. Arindam Munshi Says:
    September 3rd, 2010 at 05:29

    Dear Mr.Sumanta Banerji,

    Your letter to the intellectuals is really sensational. There are some real truths in it. But still there are some basic questions which I think you are the best person to clarify.
    1. How you have come to a conclusion that a person like Mahasweta Devi, Sujato Bhadra has surrendered their principles/ideologies who are fighting for the democratic rights of the people for such a long period consistently even in the time when there was no sign of movement in the society and most of the people were very much reluctant.
    2. CPM in their rule for such a long period has not only done corruption and created a “gunda raj”.The more important is that they have created a spineless society and has always encouraged/forced people to bow down to “Dalatantra” in contrary to develop a mass movement.They have created cadres to celebrate Puja,Other religious festivals,Sports,Clubs etc.The entire society is being controlled from these clubs only.Like religious organisations time to time their cadres organise some rally to show their presence.Can only a red flag and carrying communist manifesto differentiate from Mamata Banerji or any other party?
    3. Have you not noticed these intellectuals to protest in other issues independently where leader like Mamata Banerji kept silent just for the sake of Votes? For instance take the issue of Taslima Nasreen, and arrests of some radical persons.
    4. You are very much right to expect a different force other than the so called leftisist ,Congress,BJP or TMC.These are the intellectuals who has fought consistently to develop a mass sensation but that does not mean that just for the strong presence of a person like Mamata they will kept mum in a time when there is a strong mass movement. Do you feel that Singur ,Nandigram or Lalgarh movements are MASS MOVEMENT against poverty, atrocities, state hooliganism and oppressions? Do you believe that these movements have really attracted people to participate actively after a long silence? If so then will it be wise to keep mum or talk in a different language as because we do not have the capacity to lead the movement from the forefront? When people are ready to sacrifice their life, fighting a real battle against a powerful state and have endangered their lives what should be the role of a radical person even if he is not the leader?
    Your letter really proves that you are a person who thinks in a radical line and for the people only. Hence this is the time to stand firmly beside the poor people whose lives are at stake. It may prepare a smooth path for Mamata Banerji to become the CM and return to her old policies in future but after all when people are actively participating the struggle they will retaliate once again if any person betrays later the way they are doing it now against their old allies.

    Arindam Munshi
    25 Th August,2010 Directly to Mr Sumanta Banerji

  38. aqnirban biswas Says:
    September 4th, 2010 at 04:30

    Sumanta ‘
    Why are u so worried about Dipanjan’s reaction ? Who is he ? Any authority of mass movement ? Any authority of communist or at least radical movement of thought ?So why you are explaining so many things? You have raised a valuable question on a debatable issue on support of the maoist , actually those who are supporting them(maoists), they have separate agenda to, fulfill, they also using the maoist issue. It is a hepocratic act which we have to condemn, proceed with a clear stand, express your class alignment, class character . all are ambiguous on that matter , why? It is a moot question on every matter today. So dear Sumanta I am consider you that you are a leading historical conscience of our country , we hope you are atleast brave to sidelined such argument which is not so connected to your cause, some people are allergetic to cpi(m), it means their historical role as revisionist , as the condemned capitalists’ follower, as aberation of historical movement of the civilisation , but accept their role as a phenomena of history is a highly materialistic realisation . It cannot be expect from low laying persons. I am very supporter of your question on the maoists , I am not a maoist or cmp supporter, but a radical being rtrying to analyse events of today.

  39. Macula Lutea Says:
    September 4th, 2010 at 14:21

    Sumanta Bannerjee’s deliberations seek to bring political virtues to the fore, yet thoroughly lacking in elements of terror. On the other hand, Dipanjan Rai Chaudhuri’s abounds with terrifying elements without giving a damn for any political virtue. A solid political move (Robespierre said this in the context of revolution) has to be a reasonable blend of these two. His saying goes like this “Virtue without terror is fatal; terror without virtue is impotent”. Dialectically speaking this debate would be fruitful one and should be kept alive, given the apposition of these two antithetical elements awaiting to be resolved.

  40. Sumit Chowdhury Says:
    September 5th, 2010 at 18:30

    Sumantada needn’t have to dig out Mamata’s past (which some respondents have pointed out are not entirely factual). Let us, therefore, focus on the present, on what transpired on 9 August.

    The rally held on that day at Lalgarh Ramkrishna Vidyalay was convened by Ganatantrik Santras Birodhi Mancha, supposedly an ‘apolitical’ setup formed expressly for the said rally. The ‘apolitical’ tag was necessary to rope in the likes of Swami Agnivesh (frantically wanting to snatch some limelight after years of hibernation in quasi-reliigious Arya Samaj), Medha Patkar (frantically looking for issues after the Narmada struggle has virtually been despatched to oblivion)and a motley group of artists,dramatists academics, bureacrats, human rights champions, so on masquarading as ‘civil society’ or whom Sumantada calls ‘intellectuals.’

    These ‘intellectuals’ had originally planned a ‘March to Lalgarh’ starting from Kolkata on Quit India Day and reaching there on Independence Day. It meant breaking the 144 CrPC order through which Lalgarh and the surrounding Jangalmahal areas have been kept under siege for over 14 months. The idea had generated a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement among activists in people’s movements as it meant some kind of a ‘civil disobedience’ act. Seeing that the move might lead to emergence of an independent and non-party ‘political’ initiative, Mamata, who had been rather muted and equivocal on Lalgarh all through, announced her 9 August programme in great haste. She had done this earlier as well, hijacking spontaneous people’s uprisings in Singur and Nandigram to make way for her grand march to Writers’ Bulding. And our ‘intellectuals,’ those desperately seeking ‘paribartan’from CPM reign of terror, wittingly or unwittingly slipped into this trap, just as they did during Singur and Nandigram. And, thus, was sacrificed a possible alternative endeavour at the alter of ballot-centric politics.

    There’re 41 seats in Jangalmahal which remains firmly in CPM’s grip and these have to be wrested if one has to ensure smooth sailing in 2011 elections. Our ‘apolitical’ intellectuals probably understood the calculation better than Mamata herself, for they, in their short sppeches, made no bones about seeking a mandate for the great leader, the Liberator of Bengal. ‘Buddhababuka nid chhut gaya, Mamataji a rahi hain ye dekhke,’ thundered our venerable Swamiji.

    Ramakrishna Vidyalaya could not have been filled either by Mamata’s generals or the ‘intellectuals.’ They had banked on PSBJC to bail them out which it did by bringing in thousands from far-off villages in the simmering temperature. Yet, it’s designated speaker was not asked to speak; nor was he invited onto the stage. The men and women who have been fighting the real battle for a year and half were not allowed to enter the school premises or come close to the dias by security forces – our ‘intellectuals’ didn’t protest. Speakers spoke from the high pedestal of which the crowd understood very liitle; and so, they went back with empty feeling. The funniest moment was when one Jibanmukhi singer, shaking hips, sang to the those who have raised a heroic struggle: Pathey ebar namo sathi..

    Mamata herself didn’t say much beyond inanities.There was not a word from her on Chatradhar Mahato’s arrrest, Lalmohan Tudu and Sidho Soren’s murder in fake encounters, hog-tying the dead in Ranjha forest, the Sonamukhi gangrape or the day-in -and-day-out atrocities on hapless villagers by the security forces. The rally was called puportedly for demanding the withdrawal of security operation; but ironically, it was held under the protection of the same forces whose withdrawal it was demanding. Everything from the route to Lalgarh to the rally site was manned by COBRA and CRPF jawans, armed to the teeth. It’s a shame that none of the ‘intelluctuals’ participating in the rally noticed this incongruity.

    Mamata, of course, stressed, as per the script, on ‘peace’ and ‘development,’ her campaigns slogans. Those managing the affairs of the Indian State have been talking for some time about a ‘twin strategy’ to tackle the Maoist menace. Twin strategy is actually a double-barrel gun: one is called ‘Operation Green Hunt’, the other ‘Development,’ which means handing over the country’s resources to corporate sharks by taking away the sustenance base of the poorest. Chidarmbaram holds the first barrel while Mamata has been handed the second one. In her speech, she talked about setting up railway lines in Lalgarh. Of course! How else will iron ore be brought to the Jindal steel plant at Salboni or the produced steel be carried to the market? Surely, 9 August Lalgarh rally must have been scripted by the managers of the Indian State. Mamata, too, didn’t say anything that the Indian State didn’t want her to say. That’s why the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and the Congress leaders sttod firmly by her when CPM and BJP raised such a hue and cry over the Lalgarh rally. Pawan Kumar Bansal, Minister for Parliamentary affairs, supported her wholeheartedly in Rajya Sabha on the last day of the just-ended session of Parliament. Are our ‘parbartanbadi’ intellectuals so blind that they’re unable to see Mamata is now actually wielding the State’s other gun, perhaps the one with the ‘human face?’

    The ‘intellectuals’ have been raving about Mamata’s courage in commenting on Azad’s death. Contrary to what they and the media would like us to believe, she never said Azad was killed in fake encounter, nor did she call him a ‘martyr.’ She somehow mumbled that the way Azad died was not right – just that much. After killing Azad, the State had somehow to placate the Maoists as well as the Home Ministry appointed mediator. The managers of the Indian State couldn’t do it themselves; so they made Mamata their spokesperson. Was there any defiance of the State in this, does one require any courage to say what has been actually scripted and approved by the State itself? Shouldn’t the ‘Paribartanbadis’ ponder over this?

    One last point: Some of the ‘parbartanbadi’ respondents have treated Sumantada rather ungraciously by labelling him an apologist of CPM. Do they realise that they’re behaving no different from CPM. CPM labels anyone criticising them as ‘Trinamuli’ or ‘Maoist’ or both. The ‘paribartanbadis’ labels anyone criticising them as CPM. Can there be not a separate space for independently thinking people like Sumanta Bannerji?

  41. Macula Lutea Says:
    September 6th, 2010 at 16:46

    Let’s recall, in the context of what Prof Chowdhury stated in regard to ‘paribartanbadis’ position vis-a-vis the State, what happened in some critical junctures during Nandigram-movement. Instead of relying on their own ability to face the CPIM repression, they called for direct State-intervention, either by calling upon the then Governor of West Bengal (mostly together with the office-bearers of TMC), directly or indirectly, to effect article 365 or by asking for CBI enquiry into Nandigram-massacre or even deployment of paramilitary forces during Panchayet election. And all this in the name of ousting the evil CPIM from power. Countering a state repression by state-apparatuses is not a contradiction in itself? What has it resulted in? Their over-reliance on State-machinery from the beginning has now started to take its toll. Their own voice is now about to merge with that of the managers of the State.

  42. shyamal bhatt. Says:
    September 6th, 2010 at 18:25

    from his rejoinder…iunderstand he is not advocating for a third electoral option. he is advocating to form a movement wich can teach people that changing a particular govt by another one is not that important an issue…..the point is to change the state….by constitutional as well as extra constitutional ways….so far so good….but one may ask….why sumanto babu is so tensed now,is it so that he came to this realsation after the ‘paribartanbadis’came out for a govt. change…..? why didnt it occur to him when cpm’s power was almost unchallenged… ?he is not a nauvice in politics by any standard….then how come he did not recognise the cpm’s draconian rule for last three decades and never raising what he is raising now, as if like a child he doesnt know that constitutinal way of changing a govt is through vote….as if this govt change has no importance in buildng ppl’s movement….one big question can be asked…..when he talks of carrying forward the left & socialist idiolodgy…what dose he mean….asoviet type or china or cuba or west bengal….which type of socialism is at the back of his mind……dropping of cliche phrases wont cut any ice……to my observation….sumanta babu as aleftist…feels some bondage,even if nomincletural,with cpm….his mental world doesnt get shattered when these lefts kill 14 ppl in naxalbari, or at suchpur or 19 anandmargis, or a few hundreds at morichjhapi…not to mention nandigram masacre….after all these years and after all these events, a so called revolutionary intellectual is now scared that what if the cpm is dethroned?as if history will end with cpm!…there are more struggles to come ,no doubt, but dont think….it will be on so called communist lines….much more things are in store in the future..rest assured sky wont fall if cpm is gone…..rather you would have a real life scope to introspect into your very thought process

  43. Kanailal Biswas Says:
    September 7th, 2010 at 03:23

    Sri Sumanta Banerjee,
    Sri Dipanjan Roy Choudhury,

    I feel you are searching a black cat in a dark room. With your high profile elitist knowledge and wisdom even you do not know whether that black cat is at all there. Plight of human race for humanity , social justice there is a long history of great achievement and failure. to be contd. (M) 9830776716

  44. Macula Lutea Says:
    September 7th, 2010 at 04:00

    We can hear, here and there, ‘paribartanbadis’, while talking of ‘struggles’ they like to participate in (always in a haste and utter unpreparedness), conjure up marxist phrases like “People putting up resistances against the onslaught of big capital” and so forth. Whereas, when asked to define their programs, they are invariably at a loss and crudely condemn ‘communism’ as zombie-concept, as does Prof Bhatt. The idea is if you are confused, why don’t you admit it openly and give a pause to reflect upon your own predicament rather than hiding your predicament behind a whole list of cliches reiterated around the problematic of ‘communism’. Or had they already surrendered to CPIM and made them the only titleholder of communism, who would think communism on their behalf?

  45. shyamal bhatt. Says:
    September 7th, 2010 at 13:44

    i have no problem if mr macula annouces himself as the real title holder of communism but in that case he will only be the n+1 claimant of this title…..the problem lies elswhere….in this present debate…what should be the so called non-cpm communists role in the comming election….should they preach a policy which by default helps cpm to stay in power or do the opposit? dipanjan has rightly shown why cpm should be ousted….to oust cpm is a ppls movement now in bengal…if one duznt understand it because it duznt suit their grand plan of so called ‘communist revolution’….well time will teach them in due course

  46. Macula Lutea Says:
    September 8th, 2010 at 14:46

    Is the condition in which we are supporting or opposing a political power our own (collective) creation? Is it one path among many other we could have opted for? Or we are simply thrown into it. We are left with no other option but to accept to ‘bring into power’ a party which has no other agenda than to BE in power. Its self-proclaimed supremo’s back-office is managed by a few emeritus IPS – her chosen generals who will fight her way to the power. The lone leftish voice of one of its Samsads, presumably representing the interests of civil-society groups is brutally silenced – a party of corrupt sycophants where the proximity with the leadership is directly proportionate to the ability of the workers to ditto whims and vagaries of the former, a party which goes whole hog to fill its rank and file with the scum of CPIM – those who have chosen to get out of the sinking ship.

    We are speaking at length on class-character of Trinomool; tell me to which class does belong our Indian state ‘dying to deliver’ NREGA, loan waiver for farmers, social safety net programs for the poorest of the poor – or how far would Chidambaram and Kamal Nath approve of Jairam’ s decision of “throwing a spanner into spokes of neo-liberal juggernaut”? Which class does then Jairam stand for? Or Rahul, the self- employed ‘sipahi’ of adivasis and aam admi in Delhi? Mamata has emerged out of this generalised ‘sufferings-of-India’-ploy as nothing short of a ‘combative’ political face of the ‘human’ Indian state ‘eager to rescue the interests of the poor’, and this would perhaps be enough to assuage moral predicaments of our middle-class ‘paribartanbadis’ ,ironically, along with the liberal fundamentalists among Bengali intelligentsia who had once sought to bolster up ‘industrialisation drive’ taken by the existing government and are now openly admitting their faults and regretting for having misjudged Mamata’s political wisdom.

  47. anirban B Says:
    September 9th, 2010 at 12:05

    Mark the logic of some Baidurya’s (1st sept)comment on Sumanta’s letter.He is really punching.

  48. Rangan Says:
    September 10th, 2010 at 00:46

    There’s really nothing much to add. But I can’t resist the temptation of quoting Kundera as a footnote to this “debate”. Not-so-sincere apologies for it.

    “How can it be that leftist intellectuals (…) are willing to march against the interests of a Communist country when Communism has always been considered the left’s domain?

    When the crimes of the country called the Soviet Union became too scandalous, a leftist had two choices: either to spit on his former life and stop marching or (more or less sheepishly) to reclassify the Soviet Union as an obstacle to the Grand March and march on?

    Have I not said that what makes a leftist a leftist is the kitsch of the Grand March? The identity of kitsch comes not from a political strategy but from images, metaphors and vocabulary. It is therefore possible to break the habit and march against the interests of a Communist country. What is impossible, however, is to substitute one word for others. It is possible to threaten the Vietnamese army with one’s fist. It is impossible to shout “Down with Communism” “Down with Communism” is a slogan belonging to the enemies of the Grand March, and anyone worried about losing face must remain faithful to the purity of his own kitsch.”

  49. shyamal bhatt. Says:
    September 10th, 2010 at 07:54

    nothing much to say. dipanjan’s 2nd reply,i hope, should put the debate at rest.thank you dipanjan for speaking out for people like me…

  50. Macula Lutea Says:
    September 10th, 2010 at 10:54

    Rejoinder to the above footnote…


    Slavoj Zizek
    First as Tragedy Then as Farce – Verso 2009

  51. Macula Lutea Says:
    September 10th, 2010 at 11:14

    After reading Kundera as a footnote, I can’t resist the temptation of quoting Slavoj Zizek as a rejoinder to it:

    “Truth is partial, accessible when one takes sides, and is no less universal for this reason. The side taken here is, of course, communism… (I)nstead of asking the obvious question “is the communism still pertinent today…?” One should ask the opposite question: “How does our predicament today look from the perspective of the communist idea?”. Therein resides the dialectic of the Old and the New. … The only way to grasp the true novelty of the New is to analyze the world through the lenses of what was “eternal” in the Old…Communism is eternal not in the sense of a series of abstract-universal features that may be applied everywhere, but in the sense that it is to be re-invented in each new historical situation.”

  52. Rangan Says:
    September 13th, 2010 at 07:31

    Ah! Now I get it- the Zizekian influence on CPI(M) grafitti- “Marxism is all powerful because it is THE TRUTH”! Thanks! :-)

  53. Macula Lutea Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 01:49

    Medieval tradition had taught almost all ordinary Europeans to believe in unicorn (a white slender and tender animal with a horn upon its snout) and it was to be found in exotic countries like India (in those days vaguely meaning, for the Europeans, Asia in general). During the 13th century, when Marco Polo landed in China, he was too young a boy to have read too many books. So, when he chanced upon a white wild boar with a horn on its snout, “There it is!” – he jumped like Archimedes. At last, a simple European had the opportunity of seeing a living unicorn!

  54. sankar Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 08:14

    who are debating? those who don’t have the capacity to form a third alternative. therfore they are bound to choose cpim or tmc as always.

  55. Arnab Pal Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 11:44

    It is always a problem for theoretical communist like Sumanta Banerjee to judge the ground realities.I do not understand why do we have problems to call Mamata Banerjee a leftist?

  56. Jyotirmoy Says:
    October 3rd, 2010 at 14:25

    If we think that CPI(M) is like FOX but keep in mind that TMC like tiger, who will kill everybody.
    Is it possible to return the land from TATA project in Singur???
    Why Mamata Banerjee will not sit with running Governmet?? Are running government not elected by the people of West Bengal.
    Why so many money donate to TMC cader from Rail department.
    Why Rail money used for election purpose in west bangal?
    What is her educational qualification?
    Since 2006 till today 80% political murder shows that caders of CPI(M)killed by other party. Who create the law and order problem?
    If CPI(M) do good work Mamata says ‘NO’ destroy the work. Only Mamata thinks about West Bengal??
    Fine, Now we have to choose FOX or TIGER

  57. Bhaskar Says:
    October 5th, 2010 at 09:14

    Her anti-CPI(M) agenda makes her popular in Left Front-weary West Bengal. But what exactly does Mamata Banerjee stand for?

    November 25, 1992: Mamata Banerjee was invited by the West Bengal unit of the Youth Congress to a rally at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground to launch a movement against the Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s long rule in the state. The crowd that attended was impressive and it cheered her enthusiastically as she proceeded to sound the symbolic “death knell” of the state government from the dais.

    This support moved her so much that she announced, then and there, that she would quit her post as junior minister in the Narasimha Rao government (she was in charge of youth affairs and sports) and devote her energies full-time to building an anti-Left Front movement.

    Rao was, naturally, livid that a junior minister had put him in an embarrassing position by making a public announcement before informing him of her decision. Banerjee, true to form, could not have cared less. In over a decade of street politics in Kolkata, she had already developed an instinctive understanding of the realities of power politics that would enable her to grow from strength to strength despite increasingly maverick behaviour.

    In any case, that dramatic public announcement came to nothing; she did not resign from the Rao ministry. Nor was it the first time she displayed such selective amnesia. Earlier the same year she had said she would resign her minister-ship when she was defeated by colleague Somen Mitra in elections for the post of President of West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee. She conveniently forgot to follow up on this too.

    Just 24 hours before the results of the just-concluded municipal polls, Banerjee accused the CPI(M) of wholesale rigging. When the results showed a massive mandate for the Trinamool, Banerjee forgot about her charge.

    It is not for nothing that Banerjee is known in the Bengali press as khyapate (an expressive term that signifies a mercurial temper and unpredictable behaviour). Her followers and detractors still remember the hot summer day in April, 1996, when Banerjee announced her intention to commit suicide in public in protest against the nominations of four Congress candidates for the Assembly election. Her contention was that the nominees concerned were “anti-socials with a criminal past” (one of them is now an MP and minister in the current United Progressive Alliance).

    A complaint to the Congress High Command had been ignored. Her supporters appeared to be distraught and thronged her Kalighat home. Banerjee then put in an appearance with a black shawl over her head, declared her intention to commit suicide then allowed herself to be dissuaded and filed her nomination papers instead.

    While her party colleagues might find her hard to fathom, Banerjee has proved time and time again, that she’s understood what the people of West Bengal — those who don’t support the CPI(M), that is — are saying. In 1984, she contested her first Lok Sabha election against a CPI(M) heavyweight, the lawyer and later Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, from Jadavpur, defeating him so thoroughly that he could never contest from that constituency again.

    In 1998, she made much of an “attempt” on her life soon after she founded the Trinamool Congress and was constantly and stridently claiming police atrocities against her person. By then, those who were not distracted by what the English press dismissed as publicity-seeking antics recognised that she had emerged as the leader with the biggest mass following in West Bengal. This was because she never lost her moorings, when in power or out of it. In a state that lionises poverty, she continued to live in simple house with a tin roof near a mosquito-infested open canal and cultivate her didi persona. Her style statement runs to handloom saris, rubber chappals and a modest Indian watch. Not for her flashy mobiles and fancy cars. Till recently she used her personal secretary’s car in Delhi, before acquiring a Maruti Zen.

    Banerjee is against the CPI(M). So are many people in West Bengal. In the absence of an alternative, she has become the de facto base behind which the forces discontented with the CPI(M) — both rural and urban — have coalesced. But the problem is nobody knows what she stands for. Her political decisions are propelled by a single-point agenda of capturing Writers’ Buildings in 2011, rather than whether a policy is good for the state or not.

    In the last few years, Banerjee has steadfastly refused to share a platform with Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee barring the failed tripartite meeting at Raj Bhavan in 2007 to resolve the Singur crisis that drove Tata Motors’ Nano project out of the state and to Narendra Modi’s Gujarat. To prove her credentials as the true “jihadi” against the Left in the state, Banerji does not feel the need to interact with the Left Front even in the matters of common peoples’ interest, which often puts the moderates in her party ill at ease.

    Whimsical political stands abound. In 2008, when the Left Front government decided to move a chemical hub from the volatile Nandigram to an entirely uninhabited island in the Bay of Bengal, Nayachar, she didn’t say a word. Now, after the central government has cleared the project, she says she will not let it go ahead on grounds of “environmental pollution”.

    As Banerjee’s stature grew from a mere Congress MP to powerful opposition leader in the state, her close associates got a taste of her quicksilver temper and grew a little weary of it. After the municipal poll victory she was heard saying that this time her Mayoral candidate for Kolkata Corporation would be chosen from among one of her workers. Asked what her remark meant, a senior party leader laughingly said in the Trinamool headed by Banerjee there was only one leader, Banerjee herself. All the rest were workers.

    Such is Banerjee’s hold on her party, however, that leaders know they must indulge her every whim, or face a fall from grace. This leads to unforeseen consequences, as several leaders who thought they had a brilliant political future discovered after they were dumped by Banerjee — for not listening to Rabindra Sangeet with the right level of concentration (Banerjee was singing) or for not taking medicines she had prescribed (she fancies herself a doctor), for example.

    Her dalliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre, her supporters now claim, was a result of being shut out of the Congress during this period. But she was neither a pillar of strength for the NDA nor a minister who performed brilliantly: She became Railway Minister in 2000 and resigned in 2001 over allegations of corruption against defence minister George Fernandes made in Tehelka magazine. But she returned to the NDA in 2004 to a disastrous general election result: her party was reduced to one seat (her own) after having had nine in the previous Lok Sabha.

    It was as Railway Minister that she started the project of painting West Bengal in Trinamool colours. The 2004 election debacle allowed her to concentrate on building her party in the state and making an ideology of opposition to the Left: a tactic that has paid off today.

    Without her base in Bengal strengthening by the day, Banerjee has been able to skip Cabinet meetings, and has pretty much run governance in her own style: she who governs the least, governs the most. And but for the affection of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, she may have found herself under fire from government colleagues.

    The question, though, is how the Centre will cope with her when she delivers her inevitable triumph at the Assembly elections next year.

  58. utpal Says:
    October 25th, 2010 at 03:05

    Do you really believe that Mamata has any mission or any vision to bring any improvement in West Bengal? She always believes in politics of opposition. she has never acted with responsibility. After scoring political mileage , she has abandoned the people of Singur also. She is surrounded by people like Subrata Mukherje , Mukul Roy etc. who are nothing but opportunist. She talks about converting Kolkata into a London like city– but how? She is noi clear about it. She is even opposing the development of Rajarhat township- the only showpiece project in West Bengal.It is unfortuate to note that she never clarified how she envisages to bring economic upliftment/development in West Bengal. How she is planning to industrialise West Bengal without giving land. Has she discused with any Industrial house who will construct industries in Purulia or Bankura where barren lands are available? Why she is not making development as her agenda instead blind opposition and cheap positics?

  59. MS Says:
    December 6th, 2010 at 17:46

    I hope everyone out here wants to see a peaceful and developind bengal, and not be blooded with deaths.So if u really want peace think of bringing a govt. which can bring peace and not like CPM which knows only to kill innocent people or rape innocent people.Even so called Mr. Budhadeb Bhattacharya the present CM of bengal, recently in one of his rally, gave an open statement saying his part members to kill people if necessary. Is dis what a Chief minister shuld say in a public place. just shame on him nd his party. so ppl its high time to remove d CPM governmen. just like how CPM lost in the kerala elections.only then bengal can see peace nd developments.

  60. Anonymous Says:
    December 9th, 2010 at 03:10

    I definiely like sanhati.com a good bit so far.

  61. Bismran Says:
    March 9th, 2012 at 12:28

    Now that the “ATELS” of WB have seen Mamata through to the seat of Power , would they be kind enough to state how they see West Bengal now? It is strange that these “ATELS” have just supported a Political Nuisance just to get rid of CPIM – all philosophising by these ATELS prove their poverty – poverty of thoughts

  62. M.Raghu Ram Says:
    September 13th, 2016 at 20:55

    Hello to you and Bizhmet. Idd Mubarrak. Couldn’t trace your email address or phone no. She took my mobile no. Hope this reaches you.

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