Kolkata, May 29 (IANS) In a veiled criticism of West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress, former party MP and noted historian Sugata Bose on Wednesday stressed the need for giving space to the opposition in a democracy, and said seeking “monopoly of power” in spite of having political dominance was “foolish”.
“In a democracy, the efforts to marginalise opposition parties or wipe them out of opposition space should not be encouraged. Opposition parties must be allowed (to act) in a democratic system. When there is dominance, seeking monopoly of power is foolish,” said Bose, a grand nephew of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
Hoping that a true democracy would be established, he said every citizen must be allowed to exercise his or her democratic right.
The Trinamool and its supremo Mamata Banerjee have time and again during recent elections called upon party workers and the people to make the state “opposition less”. There were widespread allegations of rampant rigging and use of muscle power against the Trinamool to prevent opposition candidates from filing nominations in last year’s panchayat polls.
Bose, a Harvard University Professor who had earned much praise for his speeches during his first stint in parliament, opted out of the contest in this election as he did not get permission from his university.
“Any political party which comes to power is affected by some malady. There is an urgent need to get rid of this malady. A right step can be decided after considering the message sent by Bengal’s people,” he said.
Of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats, the BJP won an unprecedented 18, up from two five years back. The Trinamool won 22 seats, 12 less from its tally in the 2014 general elections
Asked about the rise of the BJP in the state, he said: “The communists have been decimated and there was virtually no opposition. Politics does not like this vacancy. Apart from this, the BJP, in this election, was successful to some extent through its tactics of communal polarisation. We have to review all aspects and introduce an initiative for a new politics and societal movement.”
Bose was hopeful that progress can be made through a renewed thrust after “taking lessons from the election results”.
Bose, however, did not subscribe to the much-talked argument that people voted against the Trinammol more than in favour of the BJP.
“I do not think this is entirely true. Trinamool’s votes increased in this election. What really happened was a majority of anti-Trinamool votes got consolidated. But, one cannot ignore the rise of Hindu fundamentalists. This type of aggression can ruin the structure of the society in Bengal. So Bengal would make mistake if it chooses this path,” he said.
Asked about the dismal show of the Trinamool in the Lok Sabha elections, he said, “I think we need to face a larger question setting aside the thoughts for the political party, political rivalry and votes. What sort of India and Bengal do we want to see in future?”