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

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Political Significance of Assembly Election Results

The recent election results negate the politics of dominance cherished at the centre.

The Many Faces of ‘Parivartan’

Between 2011 and 2021 West Bengal was dominated by the personality of Mamata Banerjee and the period can be described as the Mamata era. She destroyed the power of both the Maoists and Left Front after coming to power, introduced several populist schemes and appeared to be the undisputed ruler of the state by 2016. However, she committed a same-side goal in the panchayat election of 2018 and gave a fresh lease of life to the opposition. Ironically, it was not the left but the right that capitalised on it.

West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021: Does a ‘Party Society’ Really Subsume the Politics of ‘Identity’ and ‘Development’?

While West Bengal’s “exceptionalism” is often touted to explain the claimed lack of communal and caste-based politics in the state, the rise of populist forces has somehow managed to take advantage of identitarian fault lines without creating space for democratic political mobilisation of marginalised sections.

The Singur Agitation and the Contradictions of Agrarian Populism

People’s Car: Industrial India and the Riddles of Populism by Sarasij Majumder, Orient BlackSwan, 2019; pp xii + 198, Rs 695 hardcover.

Whither West Bengal?

Parliament election results could be a deceptive indicator of the local power dynamics.

Ponzi Schemes and Corruption in West Bengal: A Reading List

The Trinamool Congress in West Bengal is unable to shake off allegations of protecting corporate allies.

Is Mamata Banerjee a Viable Alternative to Narendra Modi?

In her years as chief minister, Mamata Banerjee’s leadership has also been questioned for her authoritarian tendencies.

‘Cultural Misrecognition’ and the Sustenance of Trinamool Congress in West Bengal

The assembly elections in West Bengal in 2016 were historic not only because the Trinamool Congress was given a second chance with a massive mandate, but also because, for the first time in decades, a single political party managed to win the election. Moreover, the TMC secured victory in most of the traditional left bastions, making the Left Front virtually insignificant in state politics. While populist and direct-benefit schemes are most prominently seen as the reasons behind the party’s success, there also exist the hitherto unaddressed alternatives to the Left Front government’s systematic development of “party society.” The promotion of traditional cultural expressions conceptualised as “cultural misrecognition” helped the TMC sustain its control and also attracted votes of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes of the state who traditionally constituted the support base of the left.

Everyday Politics and Corruption in West Bengal

Trinamool Congress’s decisive second term in West Bengal in 2016, even after serious corruption charges were levied on the party, makes it clear that corruption is not as important as was thought by the opposition. It is argued that corruption is conceived as a “necessary evil,” linked with quick and tangible delivery of public services. The recent rise of Bharatiya Janata Party, parallel to religious polarisation in the state, indicates a shrinking political space for non-BJP opposition in West Bengal.

Communal Politics Gaining Ground in West Bengal

The steady decline of the left and the Congress has created a political vacuum in West Bengal. While the Trinamool Congress government consolidated its support base with important populist measures, some of its pro-Muslim policies drew flak from a section of the Hindus. The Bharatiya Janata Party is trying to enter into Bengal politics by attacking the TMC on its appeasement policy and is trying to whip up pro-Hindu sentiments. With the weakening of secular democratic forces, the polarisation of the society on communal lines is taking place with much vigour.

Voices from Kamduni

The sessions court verdict in the Kamduni gang rape case has been welcomed by the villagers and activists who have been protesting both the atrocity as well as the complicity of the state government in the act.

Dalit Question in the Upcoming West Bengal Assembly Elections

Suppressed for long, autonomous Dalit politics is finding its voice in West Bengal through the organisational strength of the Matua Mahasangha. This article takes a look at the recent developments in this organisation and how it is projecting Dalit demands in the run-up to the coming legislative assembly elections in the state.

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