Communal Politics: If stronger in India, stronger here too | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 10, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:33 AM, May 10, 2021

Communal Politics: If stronger in India, stronger here too

Say speakers at webinar on West Bengal polls

A stronger divisive communal brand of politics in India will also make the same brand of politics stronger in Bangladesh, discussants said yesterday.

Speaking at a webinar, they urged all South Asian countries to work for secularism and against the divisive politics of religion.

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Study Group on Regional Affairs organised the webinar on election results in neighbouring Indian states of West Bengal and Assam and its probable impact on Bangladesh.

Jahangirnagar University Prof Anu Muhammad said any kind of political, economic and cultural change in India has an impact on Bangladesh as it is the closest neighbour and friend.

If the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) politics of Hindu nationalism get stronger in India, religion-based politics will be stronger in Bangladesh, he said.

Anu Muhammad said they get a chance of discussing Indian elections, but it is unfortunate that "election in Bangladesh has been sent to museum".

Rana Dasgupta, general secretary of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad, said although the Trinamool Congress won the West Bengal assembly election for the third time in a row, the BJP gained a huge success in this election.

He said the BJP bagged only three seats in this assembly polls in 2016 and it increased to 82 this time.

The BJP-led alliance won Assam assembly polls for the second time in a row.

He said all have to think about how to stop the rise of communal politics in India. "We have to ensure that no minorities leave Bangladesh for India. It is probably a reason for the rise of communal politics in some places of India."

Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, former foreign secretary and ambassador, said it was a huge achievement for BJP in the latest assembly election in West Bengal. But the BJP got success in less number of seats in comparison to the last Lok Sabha election. "It proves that conscious Indian cast their votes, understanding the difference of issues of Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections," he said.

The Bangladesh government's reaction to the elections was noticeable. It congratulated only Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee after she was sworn in as the chief minister of West Bengal, but did not yet send any congratulatory message to those who won in Assam, he said.

"The use of communalism in Indian politics has been increasing over the last 10 to 15 years. Many said communalism suffered a blow in West Bengal, but it is not sure whether it is permanent or temporary," Shamsher Mobin said.

Dhaka University Professor Amena Mohsin said she was worried because she was seeing the communalisation of politics across the globe, including India and Bangladesh.

She said by visiting a shrine of "Matua" community in Gopalganj's Orakandi on the first day of West Bengal election, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi just took the domestic agenda to another country. It was not right.

Journalist Amir Khasru, coordinator of Study Group on Regional Affairs, moderated the webinar.


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