The BJP’s West Bengal unit might have wonthe first stage of its legal battle against the TMC government in the state, but it seems to have lost a political battle.
By taking the court route to seek permission for its Ganatantra Bachao Yatra, the BJP seems to have fallen to the Trinamool Congress’ multi-pronged strategy.
There are reasons to believe that this was an unplanned decision, with improper briefing to the high command. The letters written to the authorities seeking permission were poorly drafted and even drew the ire of Calcutta High Court, for showing no clarity on what the party intended to seek.
Interestingly, they were drafted by party men and then not sent to the correct list of officials who should have been informed about it at the district level, including the Superintendent and District Magistrate.
A legal battle was the decision of the legal cell of the party, which was not in complete know of what was happening. Instead, parallel verticals in the state unit of the BJP were taking decisions.
BJP insiders are not only annoyed, but also worried at the loss of face the party has had in the initial stage of its campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha Polls.
The massive Yatra was to have three buses flagged off from Cooch Behar, Ganga Sagar and Birbhum, between December 7 and December 14. All the three locations either have a strong Hindu vote bank, or have a weak TMC presence, making it easy for the BJP to make an impact.
But was moving court the right way for the right wing? Now, the party is moving fromSingle Bench courts to Division Bench and even the Supreme Court, seeking justice for authorities not responding to their letters seeking permission for the Yatra for a month.
Was it a wise decision?
Well, many differ on this, and say that the game should have been played just like the TMC did when it was in the Opposition against the Left regime.
Some feel it would have been a better idea to hold the rallies anyway, all guns blazing, and get the BJP’s top leaders to reveal the glaring gaps in Mamata’s administration by offering arrest. This would have left the authorities in a tizzy about how to take Union ministers and Chief Ministers of other states in police custody!
While a local, low-key eventwas indeed held by the BJP in Cooch Behar on December 7, it could obviously not hold a candle to the firepower a rally attended by Amit Shah would have packed. This shock-and-awe strategy was how the TMC chief fought all battles before she came to power in 2011.
West Bengal: TMC workers purified ground with gangajal & cow dung water in Cooch Behar y'day after BJP held a rally there. Pankaj Ghosh, party leader says, "BJP gave a communal message here. This is the land of lord Madanmohan so as per Hindu traditions we purified the place" pic.twitter.com/r9KbfhmRPz— ANI (@ANI) December 9, 2018
Mamata had gone to the extent of sitting on a dharna for more than 25 days in front of the proposed Tata Nano factory site in Singur. For marches that were conducted across the state in protest of the Nandigram firing— which included violent protests too — rarely was a permission sought from the state government. And when sought, the permission was rarely denied.
The rules of democracy were either adhered to by the state, or ignored by the Opposition. But now, while roles have changed and some new characters are in, the story seems similar. It is still Mamata who is having the last laugh.
Didi is now likely to use all her administrative machinery to defer the BJP event till she puts up a massive rally — and a united face of all political opponents of the BJP — in the Brigade Parade Ground on January 19, 2019.
Round one of the Bengal battle seems to have gone to Mamata Banerjee.