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Escalation of violence

Wednesday saw a new level of violence in the politics of West Bengal, when nine Congress MLAs visiting Mangalkot were chased across paddy fields, stoned and beaten up, while their `police protection’ stood by and watched. The chief secretary of the state, perhaps in a poor attempt to emulate Marie Antoinette, asked why the MLAs always had to visit troubled areas like Mangalokot, Khejuri and Darjeeling.

Then on Thursday, Congress supporters took to the streets, torched buses, blocked roads and rail stations, made commuters walk home. Now congress has called a strike in the state.

The question of who started it is irrelevant. It is easy to blame the CPI(M) for letting law and order degenerate to the levels that MLAs can get beaten up. But if Congress takes the route of violence so easily, should they expect people to vote for them in the next election? Are they better than the CPI(M)? Or do they plan to project themselves as the lesser of the two evils? I am afraid the TMC will walk away with the election in that case, because many people have long memories of an evil congress.

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