State of battle
- Arvind Kejriwal released after brief detention in Gujarat over no permission for road show
- Sheila Dikshit appointed Kerala Governor; Congress-RJD pact likely today
- For âcheeringâ Pakistan in India match, university in Meerut suspends 67 Kashmiri students
- Partners & possibles in target 272
- Attacker, victim: 2 faces of Gujarat riots come together for âHindu-Muslimâ unity
Both Left and Trinamool Congress have much to answer for in the latest eruption of hostilities
The heckling of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and state Finance Minister Amit Mitra by activists of the Students' Federation of India (SFI), the CPM's student wing, at New Delhi's Yojana Bhawan was offensive. The unseemly conduct of the activists has had the effect of putting the Left leadership on the defensive at an awkward moment. By all accounts, Left parties had been planning to make SFI activist Sudipto Gupta's death in Kolkata, allegedly in police custody, an issue in their campaign for the upcoming panchayat polls in West Bengal. The CPM leadership, in Delhi and Kolkata, now finds itself on the backfoot. Former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was quick to condemn the SFI aggression in Delhi, saying "this is wrong politics". West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan underlined that the "shocking premeditated assault" was "a blot on India's cherished democratic values''.
While the Left has deservedly been called to account for the episode in Delhi, the near-instant retaliatory violence unleashed by the TMC against the CPM in Bengal is an outrage the ruling party and the state government must answer for. What does it say about the rule of law when the ruling party's cadres feel free to take the law into their own hands, attack two former ministers and ransack and torch over a hundred offices of the political adversary? Banerjee did call for restraint, and the situation appeared to have been brought under control by late Tuesday evening. But as Wednesday's violence at Kolkata's Presidency University brought home, calm has still not been fully restored in the state.