News Wrap


West Bengal is a state where democracy and violence have been entrenched over a span of five decades. The state has witnessed the most free and fair election in decades. Until the conclusion of the seventh round, there were no reports of booth capturing and mass scale fraud voting. The deployment of Central security forces in the booth premises, acted as a deterrent to political activists, who practice "booth domination". There were no serious allegations of partisan behaviour by the poll officials. There were a few allegations of "public voting" in the case of postal ballots of a section of government employees. In statistical terms their numbers were minuscule. The tendency of political activists, occasionally aided by a partisan police force helping Trinamool Congress, to prevent opponents from spreading their messages in area strongholds, was very marked. The culture of menacing politics was most marked in Kolkata and in some of its adjoining seats in South 24 Parganas, where publicity material was being prevented from being displayed to threatening and often physically assaulting supporters of rival parties. There was a concerted attempt to pin the responsibility of the second wave of Covid-19 on the Election Commission of India. The idea behind the ruling All-India Trinamul Congress to ensure that the first three phases of polling be contracted into one phase and render the central forces inordinately stretched on the ground, and unable to control each and every polling booth. The three Election Commissioners stood their ground.

Campaign for the assembly election of 2021 in West Bengal started immediately after the Lok Sabha election, when it became clear that Trinamul Congress government faced a serious challenge from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee stressing on cultural Bengaliness, omitted any meaningful economic agenda for the future.

Election Results
In the West Bengal assembly (294 seats) the Trinamul Congress won 213 seats, the BJP won 77 seats and the communal ISF won 01 seat. Turncoat Suvendhu Adhikary at Nandigram, defeated Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee by a razor-thin margin of 1736 votes, though it was controversial and Trinamul is likely to challenge it in court. In Kerala, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) broke a four-decade-tradition in the state to secure a second term. In Tamil Nadu, after a gap 10 years the DMK will form the next government. In Puducherry, AINRC led NDA will be in power. The ruling BJP in Assam, will be in power for a second consecutive time, a record for a non-Congress party in the state. Despite the spirited protest in 2020 against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Assam has voted for continuity rather than change.

China Plans To Dam Brahmaputra
A plan to build a mega-dam in Medong county, where the Brahmaputra River Grand Canyon is located, is the last county in Tibet, which is located close to the Arunachal Pradesh border, in India. The plan to build the mega-dam which is part of China's 14th Five Year Plan beginning in 2021, was approved by China's parliament, the National People's Congress in March 2021, Engineers are concerned about the threats posed by landslides and barrier lakes, to the dam. The Sedongpu Basin in Milin country sits just a few dozen kilometres upstream, from the plan construction site of the super-hydropower plant. India and Bangladesh, the lower-riparian states, have raised concerns over China's plan to build the massive dam on the Brahmaputra River.

Back to Home Page

Vol. 53, No. 47-52, & Vol 54, No. 1 - 4, May 23 - July 31, 2021