Politics of Bengal over tragedy in Delhi

Anna, daughter of a construction worker, survived the tragedy, because her mother had sent her downstairs to fetch water just before the ill-fated building at Lalita Park in East Delhi collapsed. Her brother was rescued alive, albeit with serious injuries, from under the heap of rubbles later and was sent to hospital. But she was yet to hear about her parents and sister till late in the afternoon on Tuesday, when Adhikary – a leader of Trinamool Congress – came to Lalita Park to meet the survivors and relatives of the victims.

“He is here because he is from the Trinamool Congress. Words have spread by now that most of the victims are from West Bengal,” said local resident Shibu Mondol, as Anna, who works as a domestic help in the neighbourhood, requested the Union Minister to help her elicit information about her family from the Delhi Government officials, who sat behind the police cordon and oversaw the rescue operation by the National Disaster Response Force personnel.

Anna’s father had migrated to Delhi from Murshidabad district in West Bengal long back. So had Mondol and thousands of other migrant workers, for whom the small rooms in the countless illegally constructed buildings on the floodplains of Yamuna River were the only accommodation that they could have afforded in the national capital. So was the case with the migrant workers from Bihar or Uttar Pradesh.

Despite being far away from West Bengal, Mondol keeps himself updated about the politics of his home State and he knows about the challenge Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee’s party is set to pose to the ruling CPM-led Left Front. “Maybe the CPM leaders will also come,” he said, as Adhikary gets busy giving ‘bytes’ to the TV channels of Kolkata.

He was right. Two CPM MPs – Mainul Hassan and Tapan Sen – did visit the crash scene later in the day.

As the tragedy kicked off in a blame game between Delhi’s Congress Government and the BJP-led civic body of the national capital over rampant violation of construction rules in the city; the CPM and Trinamool too were busy seeking to gain political mileage, although the scene was far away from their traditional battleground – West Bengal.
Not only the politicians; the mediapersons too made a beeline. The OB vans parked in the central park were more in number than the bulldozers and dumpers the Municipal Corporation of Delhi pressed into service to clear the debris.

Shankari told a journalist of a Delhi-based TV channel how her five-year-old daughter Preeti had been pulled out from under the rubble in a critical condition and sent to hospital. As soon as she finished her tale in broken Hindi, a reporter from another TV channel of Kolkata requested her to do it once again, this time in Bengali. The middle-aged domestic help could not take in any more. “How many times I have to tell you?” she broke into tears.

Comments (+)