Babul Supriyo’s Candidacy: TMC’s Betrayal of the People’s Mandate
by Aishik Saha

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has declared that the former Union Minister and BJP MP from Asansol, Babul Supriyo, will be the TMC candidate from the Ballygunge Assembly constituency that was vacated by the death of the MLA Subrata Mukherjee. This has naturally raised the anger and opposition of the people as the memory of the former MP’s communally charged vitriolic outbursts during his eight years as a union minister are fresh in public memory.

Babul Supriyo quit the BJP last year as he was not inducted into the union cabinet after the post-poll reshuffle. His quitting the BJP has more to do with having lost an internal power struggle than any actual or genuine change of politics. Neither has Supriyo expressed any regret for his politics in the past nor has he condemned the communal-fascist actions of the BJP. He has openly threatened to expel Muslims from the country on his posts on Facebook pertaining to CAA and NRC. He had organised a violent attack on the students of Jadavpur University, who had protested his presence on campus during a ‘freshers’ event organised by ABVP.

He famously refused to even accept the democratic mandate of the people in the 2021 election claiming that he did not ‘welcome’ the people’s decision to vote for the TMC. Yet less than a year later he will be canvassing for votes in the name of the same mandate! While Babul Supriyo clearly does not feel any shame, this is an insult to the people’s democratic mandate as well.

The TMC has been steadily re-inducting turncoats who had joined the BJP between 2019 and 2021, in many cases current MLAs like Mukul Roy. Who has ever since remained ambivalent about his actual party affiliation in order to bypass anti-defection rules. This once again makes a mockery of the democratic procedures themselves. Even members of the Trinamool Congress, who had remained with the party during the wave of defections in the run up to the 2021 Assembly Elections, have raised their voice against the induction of such turncoats back into the party.

Recent pictures of Babul Supriyo attending a Shab-e-Barat ceremony have been subject to ridicule by people. While it is desirable in a secular country like ours that people of all communities join each other in their respective celebration, people understand what Supriyo is doing is a mere clever ploy. Ballygunge itself is home to diverse communities with about fifty percent of the electorate being Muslims. What the TMC is doing is attempting to cynically exploit the people’s justified fear of the BJP gaining power to overrule any legitimate concerns.

The by-election comes at a moment when the TMC’s authoritarian character is once again exposed to the people. The brutal murder of Anis Khan, the land grab for an open-cast coal mine in Deucha-Panchami, the arrest of Dalit activist Saradindu Uddipan, and the brutal violence unleashed upon AISA activists of Jadavpur University has demonstrated the brutal nature of TMC’s rule. Islamophobic regulations that have barred women in Hijabs or headscarfs from appearing for government examinations have also been passed by the administration without attracting ‘mainstream’ attention.

CPI(ML) has urged the people to vote for the left in the by-election in Ballygunge and Asansol, the seat that was vacated by Babul Supriyo. Under current circumstances, the left is in a strong position to challenge the binary that has been set in West Bengal politics with the rise of the BJP. The left too can revive itself in the state by seizing initiative and re-establishing itself in the West Bengal Assembly.

TMC’s Betrayal of the People’s Mandate