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When political party offices and booths administer, also control public offices

By Harasankar Adhikari

Political party offices and booths, from the grass-roots to the highest levels of the particular political party, are primarily determined to meet the agenda of that political party—better living conditions for the general public and national progress. Its primary functions are to make supporters aware of the different public policies and to criticise them (in the case of opposition). The political party in the rule publicises different policies and programmes of the government undertaken to strengthen the nation's interests and those of the common mass - advantages of happy and comfortable living. The functions of political party offices and public offices are distinctly different with different mottos. Political party offices are assigned to strengthen the political network of the particular political party, while public offices are assigned to ensure good governance.
In West Bengal, political party offices play the role of parallel public offices as part of political party governance. These offices control every aspect of administration. It is a political network to determine party supporters. On the other hand, it is a tactical technique to identify political enemies or non-supporters. It is also an effort to award the supporters for their enjoyment of supporting the political party in power. The TMC-led government of West Bengal is implementing different programmes like Duare Sarkar (government at door step), Duare Ration (ration at door step) and other relief and welfare activities. The beneficiaries have to visit the local party office for application forms, and they have to submit the duly filled up forms to the party office. Local Panchayat offices or Block Development Offices would not entertain most applications without the recommendation of the Party Dada. No government officers have any choice to act without this hidden rule.
This is a tactical policy to reject eligible beneficiaries who are members of the so-called non-supporters or anti-supporters group of this political party. "You will get everything if you support or vote for our political party" – it is a common rule for the workers of TMC. As if these government benefits are only available to political party cadres. They may be wealthy etc. Thus, the economically better-off cadre enjoy the benefit of BPL. A cadre with a two-storeyed building gets the benefit of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. Of course, support for the political party means participating in political programme whenever it is called for. They would have no power or hope to raise their voice against the political party. No criticism is tolerable. Only praise is welcome. Supporters are sometimes provoked or act mischievously against anti supporters. The Lakshmi Bhandar is a women's scheme in which women from low-income families or unemployed housewives receive a monthly cash transfer of Rs.500 and Rs.1000 for women from SCs, STs, and OBCs. It is an effort to bind them by the ruling political party for a vote. It is a strategy of the neuro-marketing system. If a woman is being trapped, her family would be trapped by the political party. It is an easy vote making and ensuring process. A great number of women of well-to-do families enjoy these benefits because they are party supporters, while those who are genuinely needed are deprived of them because their political opinions are different.
It is a system of purchasing voters in Indian democracy. It surely strengthens the political network for longstanding rule by the particular political party. But it is breaking our social and cultural networks. The harmony of society is truncated based on the homogeneity of political supporters. It can become dangerous at times due to differences in the amount of benefits provided by the political party in power.



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