The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in an overzeal to derail the Mamata Banerjee government of West Bengal, is busy giving a different narrative to the ongoing crisis in West Bengal – both in its north and south.
On Saturday, July 8, state leaders of the saffron party met Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, urging him to impose president's rule in the state in the wake of the ongoing violence in the state. During a procession taken out by the BJP condemning the violence in Darjeeling and Basirhat, its supporters were seen displaying placards saying "Gorkhaland chao na didi Borkhaland chao' manush bolche anek hoyeche, ebar tumi jao" [Didi, you don't want Gorkhaland but Burqaland. People have had enough; now it's time for you to exit]
The Gorkhaland-Borkhaland meme has been doing the rounds in WhatsApp as well.
BJP is using Basirhat to hide its failure on Gorkhaland
The BJP is known for its expertise in churning out jargons and slogans. During the days of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, this has attained even a better level. But when it comes to Bengal, equating the twin issues of Gorkhaland agitation and appeasement of the minorities is a dangerous ploy. The BJP is executing it just to see Banerjee's fall while concealing its own ambiguous stance on Gorkhaland.
The BJP's political ideology of cultural nationalism has its disadvantages. It cannot really implement it in a country like India. Especially with regard to movements like that for Gorkhaland, backing them will make the BJP look a fool not only from the ideological perspective but also create more administrative challenges since it will have a domino effect on other ethnic groupings seeking an identity of their own. So, even if the BJP had backed those seeking Gorkhaland in the past for electoral gains, it cannot really go beyond a point now as that will jeopardise its bigger goal of coming to power in Bengal.
But the saffron party got a tremendous opportunity to hide its own shortcomings and yet double the attack on Mamata Banerjee, which it could not do with regard to the Gorkhaland issue, the moment the communal tension in Basirhat broke out.
It gave the BJP the game it is known to have mastered – the majority politics – and it jumped into the fray with no second thought. Basirhat helped the BJP to divert attention from its failure in Gorkhaland and it smartly equated two completely different issues to make the chief minister look the actual villain. Even the chief minister of neighbouring Sikkim – Pawan Kumar Chamling – an ally of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), has targeted the West Bengal government over the Gorkhaland issue.
The Gorkhaland agitation is an issue which is beyond the BJP's grasp because the latter's socio-political viewpoints are homogenous and PM Modi will never take the risk of agreeing to the demand, especially when the Chinese are breathing fire near the vulnerable Chicken's Neck. But by choosing to divert attention from its failure to cater to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's expectations and focus on polarising by encashing on the Basirhar unrest, the BJP is practically looking for a steroid to grow big in the state and challenge Banerjee who has a much bigger and broader clout than it in the local politics.