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Political Histrionics

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Video footage has appeared of WB CM Mamata Banerjee leaning out of the open door of her moving car for the benefit of her followers by the roadside. It was inevitable that she would get hurt with this ‘stuntbaazi’. The crowd pressed in and she was caught in the closing door. Like any politician worth her salt, she has chosen to turn this calamity into an opportunity and blamed unnamed forces for a ‘deliberate attack’.

She is a victim alright – of the negligence of her security personnel who not only permitted her to perform the circus act, but also failed to prevent the ‘attack’, or even catch the perpetrators. Even further, they allowed her to moan and groan at leisure in the presence of the media instead of rushing her immediately to hospital. They should be sacked immediately before further such bad performance leads to an even bigger catastrophe. ‘Didi’ should immediately take up the offer made by the Union Home Ministry of central security. Also deserving to be sacked are the media personnel who are so adept at catching every moment of celebrities’ lives but failed entirely to capture footage of the ‘attack’ and the perpetrators. It would have helped in apprehending the culprits and convicting them in court.

So, while Prime Minister Modi is seeking votes for combating the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, Mamata wants them for getting bashed up. She can now continue with her histrionics from hospital instead of the hurly burly of Nandigram’s seemingly hostile streets. She was, indeed, fortunate that she managed to file her nomination before the incident. Or, maybe she would have garnered more sympathy while limping to the returning officer’s office. She has anyway shown that she has an excellent alternative choice of career in Tollywood.

Initially, Bengal’s opposition was a bit snarky about her claim, but seeing that she actually seems to have suffered injuries, the tone has changed somewhat. It has to draw the fine line between expressing sympathy and deflecting the accusation of having inflicted the injuries. It is an irony, though, that the one accused of perpetrating a reign of terror in the state over five years is today playing the victim card. Home Minister Amit Shah had claimed just days ago, following an attack on party President JP Nadda, that 300 BJP workers have been killed in the state over the past five years. It will be interesting to see which narrative the voters accept on Election Day.