Is this politics?
The morning newspaper does not usually bring good news with it. This has been the ritual for quite some time now and we have all accepted the fact with a heavy heart. Today’s edition of The Times Of India made me numb with horror and sent a current of chill down my spine. The editorial talked of Bengal Failure (but naturally i was interested) and i read on. I quote the opening lines of the editorial here :
The failure to prevent the derailment of the Gyaneswari Express – despite police being cognizant of the conspiracy several hours before tragedy struck – highlights the pathologically dysfunctional state of the West Bengal police and bureaucracy. This worrying state of affairs is, in the main, due to the politicisation of the bureaucracy over 35 years of uninterrupted Left rule. Political dominance permitted the Left to erode the nation’s iron frame by diluting its neutrality, resulting in a compliant bureaucracy. Defined by a fail-safe culture, the bureaucracy prefers playing it safe and failing rather than challenging the political leadership or showing initiative.
On 27 May 2010 when 148 lives were lost, Mamata Bannerjee had claimed there was a larger conspiracy against the Railways, political sabotage had played its part. She was silenced with criticism from all quarters for “insulting” the dead by politicising the matter. Today the proof lies before us.
With the sole aim of embarrassing a sitting Minister ahead of Municipal Elections, the administration and “keepers of law” chose to turn blind to a conspiracy which not only claimed the lives of innocents but shook an entire nation. An accident of such grand scale, nothing short of a terror attack, was never seen before in India. But the law keepers looked away as the conspirators hatched the plan right under their nose.
This is Bengal. 34 years of a single party rule has crippled the ability to think. Allegiance to the party holds supreme importance, public accountability and services can take a back seat. The administration is so muted that even the ones denied the power to speak would laugh at them. And next time we exercise our franchise, should we not think about who we are selecting to power? Murderers? Is this politics?