Always known for making astounding claims, over the last 48 hours, the West Bengal chief minister has made twin allegations which has led to a lot of her party supporters running for cover. First, she alleged a murder plot hatched by the state's largest and one of the country's most respected media houses in connivance with the Congress, the CPI(M) and the Maoists when she was subjected to some tough questioning during her visit to a rape victim's house. Then came the second salvo when she said TV talk show panelists critical of her were involved in pornography. What's happening to West Bengal? Senior journalist and columnist Sunanda K Datta-Ray joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.
Q. Do you find any possibilities - peoples of West Bengal will awake with such a cheap politics? Asked by: Rajeev Jain
A. It will take time. people invested a great deal of hope and faith in her. she was going to preside over poriborton, a new era of change. People will not easily give up their optimism.
Q. Do you think that the people of Bengal are stuck between a rock and a hard place? Initially the state stagnated and dragged along with the communists at helm and now they have Mamata who is no better and bringing worst kind of disrepute to the state of WB. Asked by: Tilak
A. Few expected Mamata to fail the state and the people. She still has the opportunity of living up to the public's hopes.
Q. Is Mamata Banerjee suffering from some kind of disorder? she seems to be irrational in all of her actions. Asked by: Ankur
A. It certainly looks as if she suffers from an acute form of persecution complex, accusing North Korea, Venezuela and Hungary of trying to murder her. I wonder if those countries have even heard of her!
Q. She makes cheap statements. but what is the alternative? The left Govt also was no better. Don't you think it is the quality of politicians who are in the field are bad and they are only interested in making a quick buck. Don't you think that the way we are moving we would reach a point of no return? Asked by: Arun
A. I agree very few of our politicians today invite respect. But politicians are not a race apart. They are part of the society they represent. We seem to be witnessing a dangerous form of social andf ethical decline of which politics is only a symptom.
Q. Sir, do Mamata Banerjee's irrational statements cause any dent to her image in the eyes of people of rural Bengal who had voted for her? Asked by: Oliver
A. I answered this already. Her initial statements impacted mainly on middle class urban people. But when she goes to a place like Kamduni or sends her propagandists there to demonstrate, she is inviting an evential rural response.
Q. Don't you think there should be some medical checkup before someone becomes CM of any state.She seems to be medically unfit for CM post. Asked by: nishu
A. The problem is not quite medical. Deepa Das Munshi says she should see a psychiatrist. She suffers from a persecution mania.
Q. 'Poriborton' went in the wrong direction. One controversy after another. And now looks like our honorable CM is trying to retain power through force and dirty politics. What else can explain the spur of violence in rural and urban Bengal and her inexplicable policies for Panchayat elections. She's locking horns with anyone who talks sense. All of whom against her are stamped as Maoists. Funny thing, we the people have chosen her to be our leader. Leaves me with a thought, are we as a nation really ready for democracy? Where people vote for a thousand bucks or a bicycle or a packet of biriyani. We are a nation of corrupt people at every level. Reforms are needed, but who will take the charge. Mamata digging her own grave, that is what I feel but the people of our country have short-lived memory, come election, and we will be again faced with a difficult question whom to choose amongst the lot, all alike, all corrupt and trapped inside their own controlling minds. Asked by: Priya
A. Even voters can make mistakes. The beauty of democracy is that mistakes can be corrected. Remember the 1977 and 1980 Lok Sabha elections.
Q. The country gets the leaders it deserves. How else can you expect people like Mamta,Laloo and their likes becoming CM's. It is we the people who have elected them.why cant the so called mass leaders talk sense and not make stupid statements. God help us. Asked by: Arun
A. I entirely agree. But we can pull down those we put up. That is why democracy is preferable to other forms of governmen.
Q. Mamata B has become a new kind of monkey...which "hears no evil, sees no evil and talks no evil" where her govt's action or inaction are concerned. Left is enjoying itself and hopes to come back. WB should give a chance to BJP now. Asked by: shankar
A. Juar responded to that.
Q. What do you think the reason of her popularity in WB instead of her frequent psychotic rant. Asked by: Ankur
A. Her popularity was because she is a woman of the people who promised poriborton after 34 years of Marxist rule. Sadly, she is eroding the tremendous goodwill she enjoyed as a lone crusader against the Left Front.
Q. Would you be safe after answering our questions? Lucky I am not in WB. Asked by: shankar
A. I don't think she runs a planned and efficient machinery. Its all haphazard and still more sound and fury than focussed action.
Q. Apart from all the media hullabulla, what is the level of support for Didi at the Ground level? In particular, in the rural and suburban towns? Would such statements really impact her support base? Asked by: Rajaram
A. She still enjoys considerable support not just in the countryside but even in urban bustees. But episodes such as happened at Kamduni are beginning to alienate poorer voters.
Q. Do you think BJP would get some seats in WB in next general election? Asked by: Lui
A. The pro factor is that the backlash to suspected illegal immigration from Bangladesh favours the BJP. Narendra Modi also has a very clever team working for him to convince people that he alone can promote economic growth. But the BJP's Hindutva philosophy is alien to the enlightened Bengali ethos. Its support base is in Kolkata's Burrabazar. The party may get a few more seats next time but is most unlikely ever to govern West Bengal.
Q. Why is she so insensitive to women rapes. Asked by: shankar
A. She seems insensitive to everything save her own political survival. She also sees mention of any abuse/complaint as a political stratagem by her enemies. She is very very badly advised by her entourage.
Q. Will there now emerge a space for a economically right wing party to expand in Bengal? Like BJP? Will BJP atleast now find any takers in Bengal? Asked by: Tilak
A. I doubt it. The BJP's reputation is for Hindutva and not the economic right. Ever since Narasimha Rao, the Congress has supported the same economic policies, and often more effectively and rationally than the BJP.