The 19th Century reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, or rather his bust, lost its head in clashes between BJP and Trinamool Congress supporters as Amit Shah’s roadshow rolled through Kolkata. The fight has come down to the head of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. In Bengal, statue beheading is not unknown. Before also, the Naxalites had decapitated the same Vidyasagar once and recently, after Lenin fell in Tripura, a Syama Prasad Mukherjee bust was vandalized in Kolkata. But this violence is in the heat of the last phase of a bitter Lok Sabha election. The BJP party has accused Trinamool Congress of trying to strangle democracy and appealed to the Election Commission (EC) to ban Mamata Banerjee from campaigning in the last phase of the elections. On one side, the BJP is trying to use the incident to portray Trinamool Congress as lawless and anti-democratic and on the other side, Trinamool wants to use it to portray the BJP as lumpen outsiders who do not understand Bengali pride. Both sides are trying to pin the violence on the other.
When Amit Shah’s convoy was traversing through north Kolkata, at the same time Mamata Banerjee was addressing a packed rally in South Kolkata. During Mamata’s rally, she tried to convey one basic message that the BJP does not get Bengal. Both Mamata and Trinamool want to counter BJP’s Hindu pride message with Bengali pride.
This attempt of Mamata and TMC workers to pin the BJP down as a trouble-making outside force has been a strategy of Trinamool Congress throughout this election. And now that Vidyasagar’s head has been beheaded, didi will use it to drive the point home as forcefully as she can. Now, the Election Commission has announced its decision to end the poll campaign early, while setting a deadline for 10 pm on 15 May.