Back with a bong

Didi ko gussa kyon aata hai? Be­cause we’ve for­got­ten what Ben­gal thinks to­day, In­dia thinks to­mor­row

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - AN EPIPHANY OF IDEAS - Sa­[email protected]­

Rud­yard Ki­pling called Kolkata the city of dread­ful night and given the many dhar­nas, rasta rokos, bandhs, strikes and protests Kolkata has en­dured, it does seem as if it is in­deed a city of dread­ful knights. But when her par­tic­u­lar knight is at­tacked, the queen al­ways rushes to the res­cue, just as Ben­gal chief min­is­ter Ma­mata Ban­er­jee stormed in to protest when CBI of­fi­cials ar­rived at the doorstep of the Ben­gal po­lice com­mis­sioner.

How dare im­pe­ri­ous Delhi threaten proud Ben­gal’s top cop, which as speak­ers of Bonglish know, must be pro­nounced ‘tough cough’? In poll sea­son this at­tack on Ben­gal is cer­tainly not a mat­ter for po­lite cough­ing nor even for laugh­ing. It’s politics, stupid! When votes are at stake, dharna se kyon darna?

Some said Didi was only en­gag­ing in maach fix­ing, be­cause she was try­ing to make maacher jhol out of rule of law. Oth­ers said rul­ing BJP dadas in Delhi were try­ing too hard to sing Didi tera kya hoga. Ei­ther way the CM showed no ma­mata and de­cided she would go on dharna to protest against what she called PM Modi’s ad­harma. Will 2019 be about dada vs didi? Not quite be­cause be­hanji Mayawati and be­han Priyanka are al­ready in the mix too. BJP may have only one Big Brother but in the op­po­si­tion there are many Big Sis­ters. The op­po­si­tion ma­ha­gath­band­han re­cently had its big show of strength in Kolkata and vowed to de­feat the Modi-led BJP. We musn’t for­get that the great GK Gokhale once said that what Ben­gal thinks to­day, the rest of In­dia thinks to­mor­row. Will In­dia get a Ben­gali prime min­is­ter soon? When Jy­oti Basu nar­rowly lost the prime min­is­ter­ship in what he de­scribed as a “his­toric blun­der” it was al­most as bad for Ben­gali pride as Odisha’s re­cent at­tempt to seize the roso­golla patent.

Modi may be con­fi­dent of tak­ing on Ben­gal’s politi­cians but can he take on the Royal Ben­gal ti­gress? As TV cam­eras zoomed in to Didi’s protest and ev­ery op­po­si­tion politi­cian lined up be­hind her, it be­came clear that Didi was gear­ing up for a Ben­gal vs Delhi foot­ball match with her­self as the star for­ward you can’t Messi around with.

Ma­mata is the war­rior neta who brought down a three decade old CPI(M) fortress. Thus, how­ever for­mi­da­ble a 56 inch chest may be, it may not be wise to dis­re­gard the big bong the­ory of In­dian politics.

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