Democracy, marred by violence, cannot be a winner. So those who are propagating a triumph for democracy by indulging in violence are actually causing damage to the democratic set up of the country. The perpetrators of violence in a democratic setup should keep it in mind that democracy is not all about winning elections. It is a setup which assures every citizen of the country equal justice. Denial of justice to a citizen, no matter in which strata of the society he or she belongs to, should be considered a failure of democratic system. So no matter how many seats the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) has won in the recently concluded Panchayat elections in West Bengal, democracy has lost. Starting from the announcement of the poll dates till the time of counting, West Bengal has witnessed unprecedented violence. It is nothing but a wilful misuse of power by the ruling party of the state. The ruling party had prevented the opposition candidates from filing nominations. They were beaten in broad daylight for daring to oppose AITC. The muscle-flexing was such that in more than 34 percent seats the ruling party was declared winner unopposed. When the situation was virtually threatening to go out of hand, the judiciary had to step in. But the judiciary could do little as conducting elections is the duty of Election Commission, a constitutional body and when the process is on, judiciary cannot interfere much. So the violence went on unabated. At least 16 people were killed on the Election Day accompanied by booth capturing, false voting, etc. Ballot boxes were set on fire. Allegedly a minister of the government of West Bengal slapped an opposition polling agent to make a polling booth free from the presence of political opponents. Clearly, the voting process was reduced to a phrase. Yet the ruling party is celebrating the results as a victory for democracy.
But the theory of propagating a lie as loudly as possible till people start believing in it never gives the desired results in the long run. Today or tomorrow it will be as clear as daylight that there is a dent in the support base of AITC and when those cracks will be visible; no power on earth will be able to keep the party in power. Today’s celebration will be tomorrow’s sorrow for AITC. The party will have to pay for its dependence on violence rather than wooing the people’s heart trough welfare measures and stand beside them at the time of need. The argument that violence during elections is nothing new in West Bengal as it has always topped the chart among all the Indian states holds no ground. A bad practice is a bad practice, no matter which political party indulges in it. On its part, AITC could take a lead in making West Bengal free from all violence and present its people a vibrant democracy, where everyone can express his or her opinion without fear. But the party is following the same path which the other parties followed in earlier days and vanquished. AITC will meet the same fate if it doesn’t change its course because the real winner will always be those who withstood violence and advocated for peace, not those, who came to power by promising peace and indulging violence.