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Surajit Dasgupta: Bengal declined over centuries

Bringing the BJP to power would change Bengal only if it can achieve the feat without appeasing Muslims and hiring goons, says Surajit Dasgupta

Sirf News Editor-in-Chief Surajit Dasgupta takes the viewers briefly through hundreds of years of history of Bengal, beginning with the Pala Empire when Buddhism was introduced in the region, dealing the first blow to the core belief system of Hindus. Centuries later emerged the Brahmo Samaj, turning Bengalis into even greater iconoclasts.

In such a society, Surajit Dasgupta explains, a phenomenon like communism was just waiting to happen. But before that, as it had happened in the geographical areas that are now Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, people converted to Islam on a large scale.

While this pushed Hindu religiosity out of the political discourse in Bengal, it was only the advent of communism that destroyed the business atmosphere, Surajit Dasgupta reasons in this video. That happened by way of Naxalism first, followed by the rise of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], both of whom scared industrialists out of the province.

During this period, however, chief minister for the longest period in the state, Jyoti Basu, firmly had two factions of society at his beck and call: Muslims and political goons. While the henchmen switched to the Trinamool Congress during the agitations of Singur and Nandigram, explains Surajit Dasgupta, Mamata Banerjee could not keep these elements under her control as deftly as Basu could.

In the section on solutions, Surajit Dasgupta says it is imperative that the state sees a change in the political regime. Without this, there will be no change in the industrial policy. There will be no investment in the state, with such a power at the helm that cannot secure the interests of the business class, a power that the people may not respect and yet be in morbid fear of antagonising.

Can the BJP do it without taking recourse to the tactic that Mamata Banerjee took to snatch power from the CPI(M)? That is a question future alone can answer. While Bengal prays that does not happen, as it would be a meaningless power shift for the local society. However, Surajit Dasgupta says, the BJP wouldn’t have a leader like Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee whose effort to reverse the narrative by ushering in investments had his own comrades rebel against him.