BJP people blame the Congress and Trinamool for running a nasty campaign
In the on-going Lok Sabha elections, the environment, dignity and respect for opposite views in the powerful lower chamber of the Indian parliament, is a far cry from the polls of 2014, according to journalists and civil society.
In a span of five years, the environment has become downright contentious with extreme views with little respect for each other, they said.
During a visit to Kolkata, the capital of India’s third largest state, and adjacent areas over few days, the Dhaka Tribune found that the views expressed by the people either for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or Rahul Gandhi-led All India Congress Party, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led All India Trinamool Congress or the Communist Party of India (Marxist) are nothing but extreme.
This correspondent could find very few people who expressed moderate views.
Of course, in all fairness, the supporters of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) sounded bit softer than the others.
Another important aspect has come out in last few days – that is extreme polarization among the voters.
People, who do not like the current administration in the center and will be happy to see Modi go, shift the blame on BJP for the polarization and deterioration of the election environment.
They also did not read too much into India’s standoff against Pakistan over the Pulawama attacks in February. Rather, they are not prepared to believe their prime minister’s version in totality.
Of course, in defence, the BJP people blame the Congress and Trinamool for running a nasty campaign.
“Despite some personal attacks on each others, we had pretty good elections in 2014. But, this time round what we are witnessing is unbelievable,” Siddhartha Roy, a retired school teacher said.
“During this election campaign, our leaders have become kind of insane. Look, I am against BJP, but Prime Minister Modi’s remark in regards to our late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is beyond belief,” he said.
Regarding the conducts of the leaders in the campaign trail, the teacher in his mid sixties said: “People from other countries do better, but we seem to be on the backwards. I just hope good sense will prevail.”
“It is Modi who is responsible for all the mess the country is facing now. The sooner we get rid of him and his party the better for our state and the country,” said Suman Paul, a young Trinamool Congress party activist.
“You will see he (Modi) will be no longer prime minister after May 23,” he said referring to the day of counting and declaring of the election results.
“Modi has simply failed to keep his election pledges,” he added.
“My party has always been in favour of secularism. But, it is the government of Modi who harmed the secular nature of our country by resorting to various. Not only that. His government has also harmed our economy. We are simply better off without BJP,” Congress activist Riya Roy said.
Defending all the allegations, BJP activist Santunu Dutta said: “Only, present Prime Minister Modiji can effectively rule the country. His strong action against Pakistan proved that he could defend us from any kind of aggressions against our country.”
“Yes, he (Modi) could not fulfill some of the pledges. It’s natural. He will do it in the next term,” he said, putting all the blame on Mamata and Rahul Gandhi for the nastiness in the campaign.
“All we want is a peaceful transfer of power through elections that are unquestionable. The Communist Party of India believes in people. Yes, we are going through a rough patch now and efforts are on to better our position,” Sanjay Naha said.
“In a vast and diversified country like India, it is dangerous to use religion in politics. Unfortunately, some parties, especially BJP and Trinamool, are using it,” he said.