What the Communist Party of India (Marxist) dreaded the most in West Bengal, its bastion for 33 years, has happened. Ms Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress Party (TCP) held an extremely well-attended rally at Lalgarh in the Jangalmahal region bordering Jharkhand on August 9, enlisted the support of the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA), and threw down the gauntlet to the Left Front. She stridently read out an elaborate political chargesheet against the CPM and announced the end of Left “hegemony” and the beginning of “a new era” in West Bengal.
Evidence is emerging of Narendra Modi’s involvement along with Amit Shah’s in crucial police postings in the Sohrabuddin case cover-up, which could politically prove extremely damaging.
The Cassandras have proved right. The Commonwealth Games have turned into a gigantic multi-billion rupee racket, under which Delhi’s landscape is recklessly ripped up, inappropriate and wasteful projects are shamelessly promoted, public funds massively looted, workers sadistically brutalised, the poor summarily evicted, and human rights egregiously violated—supposedly to enhance India’s global image in pursuit of hollow notions of prestige. The CWG, far grander than the Asian Games of 1982, will be monumentally irrelevant to the future of sports. But they will leave a toxic legacy of empty public coffers, disused stadia, and a battered mass of underprivileged people.
A rash of scandals has broken out over contracts for the construction of infrastructure and sports facilities for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. This raises disturbing questions about transparency, accountability and governance failure and the existence of an Indian kleptocracy which sets no limits to how low it will stoop in looting the exchequer. But the Games must also be criticised on grounds other than corruption. They will be a hollow, tawdry 12-day spectacle, which does nothing to promote sports, or to earn India any goodwill or prestige, which the elite craves.