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TMC's six strategies to ensure its continued hold on West Bengal's captive vote bank

By Harasankar Adhikari 

Does a democratically elected government do anything regardless of what the chief of the government thinks? Does he or she not consider the economy of the state? Is it a process of empowerment of people in a democracy like India?
The TMC-led government of West Bengal is an example of discrimination against democracy and democratic rights. This populist government sinks into cheap populism. It has cultivated a culture of making people puppets. It has no real public support. But people support this government for various types of doles. Actually, it is a tactic not to express people’s democratic power because they get some doles from the government. It uses vote machineries (rigging, violence, and threat) to earn votes during elections.
It has given the people a full bag of donations in various forms. Laxmi Bhandar and donations to Durga Puja festival committees are examples of direct cash transfer programs. It grants a few crores of rupees to the local youth club in West Bengal for the purpose of sports and culture. But its impacts are rarely visible to the public. It was a programme designed to capture young voters for use during elections.
This government has borrowed about Rs. 6 lakh crore. It generates or collects revenues from the liqiour business. It has no other avenue for revenue. The state employees are not getting their dearness allowance in spite of the order of the honourable High Court of Calcutta. But it smoothly grants festive allowance to the Durga Puja festival committees of the state with due increment. This year, approximately 43000 festival committees will receive Rs. 258 crore for Durga Puja purposes. This government's various development schemes remain in place. As per the declaration of the government, it is due to a crisis of funds.
The TMC-led government of West Bengal has adopted clearly identified six strategies to ensure its captive vote bank for which it wins every election, in spite of anti-encumbrances. 
Firstly, it makes people beneficiaries of the government through various types of doles. People are highly praising this government because they are getting something which was previously absent. They do not like to lose this opportunity to support other political parties. They are afraid to lose it after the change in government. So, their support always lies with the current government. Second, this political party has captured the youth and youth organisations through the distribution of direct cash donations, which have been used for various political activities, particularly during election season.
Thereafter, it carefully plays the religious term card under the banner of secular politics. It provides a festival grant, an honorarium to the priest or mawlawi, and so forth. It has created a culture of corruption behind the development programmes which are under the trial of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI). The chief of the government has officially recognised corruption as the right of the TMC leaders or supporters. Even when the leaders of this party are under trial, the chief recognises them as brave. It is only to bind its supporters as if nothing is going on. It is only the opposition's politics. In the fifth strategy, it is surprising that the critics (intellectuals, activists, etc.) of the government are with this political party because of their vested interest. Those who are anti-government are threatened variously. Finally, this political party is deliberately using the administration (police) to suppress the anti-encumbrances. Fear, threats, and violence have become common tactics to uphold power.
As a consequence, the state is sinking into a deep crisis because of a lack of democratic discipline, authoritative administration, and an ongoing system of apiculture.

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