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Kolkata violence likely to resonate in Varanasi poll

THE ASIAN AGE. | ANIMESH SINGH
Published : May 18, 2019, 4:37 am IST
Updated : May 18, 2019, 7:24 am IST

In such a scenario therefore it would be interesting to see how Varanasi’s Bengalis vote in the aftermath of the Vidyasagar College incident.

Violance erupted during the roadshow of BJP President Amit Shah in Kolkata on Tuesday. (Photo: ANI)
 Violance erupted during the roadshow of BJP President Amit Shah in Kolkata on Tuesday. (Photo: ANI)

New Delhi: While the violence in Kolkata’s Vidyasagar College during which the well known reformist and educationist Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s bust was broken, has already stirred sentiments in West Bengal as chief minister Mamata Banerjee has equated it with an attack on Bengali pride and ethos, political observers say that the incident could have strong resonance with sizeable Bengali voters in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Parliamentary constituency.

Bengali voters constitute a sizeable six per cent of the holy city’s population, and the incident could have serious political resonance when Varanasi votes on May 19, the final phase of Lok Sabha polls.

Any possible churn among this significant chunk of voters there could have an impact on the final outcome of polls in Varanasi, where at present Mr Modi seems to be leading a one-sided contest, after Congress’ last minute decision of not fielding Priyanka Gandhi against the Prime Minister.

Though West Bengal has witnessed it’s share of violence during the days of naxal revolution when campuses across the state boiled with violent idealism, the damaging of Vidyasagar’s bust has led to all round furore.

As it is, the mood of the voters in these elections has been difficult to gauge, with analysts stating that a major portion of voting has been ‘silent’.

In such a scenario therefore it would be interesting to see how Varanasi’s Bengalis vote in the aftermath of the Vidyasagar College incident.

While Mr Modi-led BJP has been running it’s campaign on aggressive nationalism and hardcore Hindutva, the Congress and the grand alliance has been highlighting the ruling NDA’s failures on job creation front, agrarian distress and ill effects of demonetisation on small industries.

The BJP is keen to make gains in West Bengal after tasting political success in the Northeast, and therefore all the six phases of polling in the state till date, have seen violent incidents, with both BJP and TMC desperate to gain an upper hand.

Vidyasagar, who is West Bengal’s as well as nation’s social and cultural icon, is held in high esteem for his role in empowering women, promoting widow remarriage and upholding the values of education among Indians as means to fight the British through socio-political awareness during the Colonial era.

He founded the college in 1872, and it was the first private college not just in the state but also in the entire country, which was not only governed and financed by Indians but also had Indians as faculty members. Earlier known as Metropolitan Institution, it was renamed Vidyasagar College in 1917, after its founder.

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Tags: ishwar chandra vidyasagar, mamata banerjee, narendra modi
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi