By Mithun Dasgupta, IANS,
Kolkata: They may belong to parties having different manifestoes, agenda and vote banks. But leaders cutting across the political spectrum in West Bengal seem to have a common thread – making derogatory, defamatory and obscene remarks.
In recent times, politics in the state seems to be touching its nadir with petty squabbles, personal attacks and use of abusive languages at an all time high.
Fresh controversies were stoked by veteran Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Abdur Rezzak Molla’s derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and another of his party comrade Anisur Rehman’s abusive comment against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Addressing a rally, the outspoken Molla, a former minister in the erstwhile Left Front regime, launched a scathing attack against Singh, while criticising the centre’s reform agenda, and made what local media said were “obscene” remarks using “filthy” abjectives.
Even in the face of strong criticism from several quarters, Molla did not relent and shouted that he would continue to say so against the prime minister.
It got even worse when the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Surjya Kanta Mishra said the CPI-M legislator did not have to tender any apology as someone having “little knowledge of Arabic and Urdu” would understand that the adjectives used was “directed towards people enjoying the fruits of others labours”.
Rahman, also a former minister, kicked up a political blizzard when he made obscene remarks against the chief minister, saying her government was “more interested in offering money to rape victims than in taking steps for their security”.
Addressing a meeting of the party’s peasants wing Krishak Sabha in North Dinajpur, Rahman even went on to say: “We have told the chief minister in the assembly that the government will pay money to compensate rape victims. What is your fee? If you are raped, what will be your fee?”
His sexist remarks left the CPI-M leadership red faced, especially in the context of the nationwide outrage following death of the Delhi gang-rape victim.
Pulled up by the party bigwigs, Rahman tendered an unconditional apology to the “people of the state including the chief minister” – first by holding a media meet and then while addressing another rally.
However, in the same rally, Rahman let loose another suggestive and indecent barb at Banerjee.
Ridiculing Banerjee for repeatedly harping on funds crunch in the state, Rahman said: “Ami jiggesh korte pari Mamata Banerjeeke, onyo kaaj to dibbi cholchhe. Shah Rukh Khan Didi’r mathae kokhon ektu chumu debe, tar jonyo to tar khoroch korte bandhe na. Amitabh Bachchan asbe, gaye ektu haath diye sohag diye jabe, tar jonyo to bandhe na (May I ask Mamata Banerjee how other things are going on? She doesn’t bother about expenses while inviting Shah Rukh Khan who kisses her head and Amitabh Bachchan who touches her adoringly).”
The party has now reportedly barred Rahman from addressing public meetings.
Earlier, Abhijeet Mukherjee, son of President Pranab Mukherjee and a Congress MP, drew much flak for terming as “dented and painted” the women protestors in Delhi after last month’s gang-rape.
As his party also faced the heat following the derogatory comments, junior Mukherjee had to swallow his words and apologise.
Chief Minister Banerjee also seemed tarred by the same brush.
Only sometime back she infamously mimicked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a television interview, while taking a dig at him on FDI in multi-brand retail.
And very recently, dismissing her critics, she said: “Raja chale bazar, to Kutta bhonke hazar” (When the king goes to the market, many dogs bark).
For a political observer, such instances of personal attacks are countless.
According to political analysts and sociologists, cases of “constant compromise with parliamentary language” are on the rise due to “political impatience” amid complex political scenario.
“Parliamentary language has consistently been eroded. I will not single out West Bengal as this is the national scenario. To me, this is a threat to parliamentary democracy. If you are in parliamentary democracy, you cannot compromise with parliamentary language,” political analyst Samir Kumar Das told IANS.
Das observed that use of filthy language by politicians was on the up as politics itself was becoming more complex with parties aiming to come to power or stick to power “at any cost”.
Bipul Kumar Bhadra, professor of sociology at Jadavpur University, pointed out that political impatience was a major reason for such petty comments.
“The leaders should have been more patient instead of making such irresponsible remarks. However, I am not very surprised as they lack the minimum political sense,” Bhadra told IANS.
Nonetheless, he was very optimistic that such political lows would eventually fade once there was more economic development.
“In developed countries such as in the US, you will very seldom come across such abusive languages made by politicians,” he added.
(Mithun Dasgupta can be contacted at [email protected])