APDR statement on deteriorating condition of electoral democracy in West Bengal

January 12, 2013

Kolkata, 11th January, 2013
When our whole country has been agitating against rape of women, our state has become stupefied with another kind of rape – the rape of electoral democracy. A queer darkness has, indeed, pervaded our West Bengal. The process has started earlier, but during the last few days it has openly come out in the lime light exposing the open violation of all constitutional norms, highlighting anew the process of criminalisation of politics in this state. First, an aged opposition leader was brutally assaulted by an enterprising `udyomee’ leader of the ruling party, who had earned a dubious fame earlier for his questionable anti-people role. But this time, in the interest of the ensuing Panchayet elections, he was rewarded by open commendation by the top leaders. And then, when a protest march was being organised by the opposition parties, buses and cars carrying people going to participate in that protest were openly attacked, fired upon, their carriers burnt under the leadership of that same infamous leader, thereby earning more praise and appreciation of his party and the state-ministers. Even the Governor, the constitutional custodian of the state administration, was attacked crudely for expressing his concern and criricism.

In the 20 months’ rule of the Trinamul Congress Government, the right to freely express one’s opinion and also to protest and organise peaceful meetings and marches has been trampled upon again and again, thereby exposing the real nature of the `Paribartan’ promised by them. Gradually it has been reaching its zenith. The present situation is only a symptom of that process.

APDR has, since its birth, been protesting against all violations of democratic rights. Its bold and continuous stand during the people’s spontaneous protest against the autocracy imposed by the Left Front is known to everyone. We now protest against this ongoing and more and more openly naked violation of democracy by this new Government and its leaders.

We are happy that more and more eminent members of the civil society are becoming critical and outspoken against these undemocratic activities of the Government, calling it `hooliganism’. Incidentally, a senior minister has asked a funny question in this context in view of the open criticism made by Sankha Ghosh, the leading poet of this state : “Who is this Sankha Ghosh ? What does he write?’’ This is the most natural comment of a person who was the infamous minister of information during the Siddhartha Raj of the seventies of the last century!

Dhiraj Sengupta
General Secretary
Association for Protection of Democratic Rights
18, MADAN BARAL LANE, KOLKATA- 700 012, Phone: (2237 6459033)
E-mail: apdr.wb@gmail.com. Website: apdr.org.in