Not a ‘happy birthday’ for West Bengal’s Trinamool Congress government

The Trinamool Congress will complete the first year of its third term in office in West Bengal in May. But violent incidents punctuated its political beat, and judicial directives aimed at fair investigation brought in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate major incidents.

Besides the legal arguments in court, there are two other fronts that keep the Trinamool machinery and state government engaged in a back and forth response cycle. While the Raj Bhavan continues to shine a light on troubling issues and administrative loopholes, the opposition – mainly the BJP – is once again keeping the ruling party on its toes. Bengal regained the attention of the high party hierarchy after elections in five states.

Tuesday’s directive from the Calcutta High Court that the CBI will investigate the alleged gang rape and death of an underage girl in Hanskhali in West Bengal adds to the list of several incidents that have been handed over to the agency. central. It is the latest in a series of major incidents that the court has ordered the CBI to investigate.

Read | 5 CBI investigations in 18 days: trouble brewing for West Bengal government?

Following Trinamool’s victory last year in May, violent incidents were reported. On August 19, the High Court in Calcutta handed over the investigation of the incidents to the CBI.

Covid cases and restrictions, festivities, preparation for municipal elections and elections in five states – it seemed that the post-Covid scenario might be more suited to economic growth. However, incidents in the recent past have sparked a new pattern of violence.

Student leader Anis Khan was found dead in mysterious circumstances on February 19. It is alleged that four people, one of whom claimed to be in police uniform, had visited Anis before his death. The incident triggered numerous protests.

In less than a month, since March 25, CBI has been assigned five investigations. In Bogtui village, Birbhum district, nine people were charred to death after houses were burned down in retaliation for the murder of local Trinamool chief Bhadu Sheikh. The investigation was forwarded to the CBI on March 25. Subsequently, the investigation into Bhadu Sheikh’s death was also handed over to the CBI on April 8.

On April 4, the court also ordered a CBI investigation into the murder of Tapan Kandu, the Congress Councilor of Jhalda Municipality in Purulia District. Again on April 12, the central agency was assigned to investigate the death of Niranjan Baishnab, an eyewitness to Kundu’s murder and the Hanshkhali gang rape incident.

The Raj Bhavan and the state do not really go together. Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar continued to regularly raise questions about administrative decisions and publicly expressed his dissatisfaction on several occasions. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and several senior Trinamool leaders have continued to point out that sometimes Raj Bhavan’s expressions go beyond the case for a governorship.

On the political front, the BJP came back stronger to contend with, although it failed to repeat its success in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Visits by BJP members to relevant places, investigative committees and tweets from national leaders have once again focused on Bengal.

The left, supported by its student and youth wings, is back on the streets. Congress, with a very nominal presence, took out motorcades whenever possible. In addition, activists who are unhappy with several issues have resumed holding meetings on street corners, unless permission is given by the administration.

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