BJP and Bengal’s Lok Sabha election
The Lok Sabha election is drawing near. BJP is looking at Bengal as a key state for its 2019 Lok Sabha prospects. BJP has given itself a target of winning at least 22 of Bengal’s 42 Lok Sabha seats. The party is hoping gains in the east and south will compensate for losses it is expected to suffer in Hindi heartland states such as UP after registering historic highs there in 2014. Shah focussed on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to assert that all Hindu refugees from Bangladesh would get citizenship under it. In the same breath, Shah attacked infiltration from Bangladesh – a reference to Muslim migrants – and vowed to stop this if BJP is voted to power.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill has prompted a massive outcry in northeastern states. But in Bengal, BJP feels it can exploit the issue on religious lines, especially since chief minister Mamata Banerjee is perceived as appeasing Muslims.
However, this is a risky gamble. It’s equally possible for the citizenship ploy to backfire on BJP if it is seen as opening the floodgates to Bangladeshi migrants. Besides, BJP also has to contend with the language barrier in Bengal. Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are powerful orators. However, their speeches in Hindi may not cut much ice with the people of the state.
BJP does well when it is challenging an incumbent government. That’s why Shah highlighted themes such as syndicate raj and Trinamool goondaism in Bengal that will have resonance in the state. But now that BJP is also in power in a large number of states as well as at the Centre, it will be difficult for it to cash in on anti-incumbency in Bengal when it is facing anti-incumbency elsewhere. If jobs are an issue in Bengal, they are so all over India.
Additionally, the state’s GSDP in 2018 grew much faster than the national economy at 9.1%. Given that Mamata is eyeing a national role as evident by her rally of mahagathbandhan leaders, she is bound to answer the BJP challenge strongly. BJP may be the main opposition force in Bengal today. But it will have its work cut out reaching its target of 22 seats.
Satish Kumar Sarma,
Kalyanpur, Biswanath Chariali.
Fake RTI application now at PMO
It refers to a yet other fake RTI application filed by some miscreant in the name of undersigned now filed with office of Prime Minister (PMO) registered with number RTI-2493-2019-PMR. This is not the first case of a fake RTI application filed in the name of undersigned. Earlier also undersigned has been victim of such fake RTI application for which a front-page interview was published by a leading English daily newspaper. Even fake public grievances are also noted being filed under name of the undersigned. Such a practice unnecessarily creates wrong impression about name of the person under whose name fake RTI applications and public grievances are filed. Mostly such petitions are filed targeting rival officers. One such targeted officer even threatened undersigned to sue for damages.
The Department of Personnel and Praining (DoPT) should make it compulsory to file copy of identity proof bearing signature with each RTI application in accordance with para 23 of verdict dated 02.11.2012 in the matter-Fruit and Vegetable Union versus Unknown (CWP 4787 of 2011).
Even public grievances filed with any public authority must be compulsorily accompanied with ID proof of the complainant. To abolish practice of marking copies of any complaint with so many public authorities, rule should be that only public-authority originally addressed in the complaint may take action. Public authorities or personalities to whom copies are marked, may file such complaints without any action. This will avoid heavy number of man hours and resources of so many public authorities unnecessary engaged in handling such petitions, with only public authority acting on the complaint to whom complaint is originally marked.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal,
Dariba, Chandni Chowk,