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Just Pass The Wine, Comrades

The Left made a law that grossly undermined Bengal’s state election commission. As Trinamool unleashes pre-poll violence, an old tool comes in handy.

Just Pass The Wine, Comrades
Photograph by PTI
Workers of rival parties clash during the nomination process in Burdwan
Just Pass The Wine, Comrades
outlookindia.com
2018-04-14T10:56:35+05:30

During his long stint as Member of Parliament, CPI(M) lea­der Basudeb Acharya was known as a fiery speaker who relentlessly pursued the cause of the people of his constituency—the backward district of Bankura in West Bengal—demanding, and often extracting, benefits for the tribal people of that reg­­ion from the Centre. Away from the cut-and-thrust of national politics, Acharya is soft-spoken and polite, his words touched by a disarming candour. During an interview to Outlook bef­ore the 2011 assembly polls, when his party was in power, he replied to a question about ‘rigging’—the control of polling booths by musclemen, usually from the incumbent party, of which his own 34-year-long government had often been accused. He stated that he would rather lose than stay in power by dishonest means. He lost to the Trinamool Congress candidate that year.

Seven years later, the 75-year-old veteran is languishing in a hospital bed. He was attacked by thugs associated allegedly with the Trinamool. They were trying to prevent him from entering the district magistrate’s office to help his comrades file nomination papers for the upcoming panchayat elections. It came in the middle of a shrill, rising tide of protests by the BJP and the Left against TMC violence over the polls. The road to ‘capturing boo­ths’ starts with the nomination process itself.

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