ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Dangerous Games

The resistible rise of communalism in West Bengal.

West Bengal has not lent itself to communal polarisation or violence for a long time. However, the past few years have seen a visible communalisation of politics and the public sphere in West Bengal, helped in equal measure by a short-sighted pandering to Muslim fundamentalism by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the inability of the Left Front to rediscover its class-based politics. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has used the opportunity given to it to catalyse a communalisation of politics in the state.

West Bengal is among the few states in the country where the BJP has not yet secured a substantive foothold. It has always been an uphill task for the party to break into Bengal, largely due to the radical class-based politics which has dominated the state. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi's campaign in the run-up to the general elections pointed to a deliberate strategy of communal mobilisation by his party. And the TMC's myopic approach to the problems of the Muslim community has given the BJP the opening it has always sought.

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