Sambit Pal is a veteran journalist who has worked with legacy media houses such as ABP and Times Network and written for digital news publications such as the Quint, Scroll, and Down to Earth. Currently, Pal, who describes himself as a media educator and researcher, is professor at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Dhenkanal.

In this conversation with Shardool Katyayan at , he discusses his recently released book, The Bengal Conundrum: The Rise of the BJP and the Future of the TMC.

As a journalist in Bengal for over a decade, Pal closely witnessed the tumultuous transformation of the state’s politics. In this regard, he says, “Bengal, known to be a Left citadel, has suddenly gone to the extreme Right.”

On the rise of communalism and identity politics in the state, he says, “The Left had very tactically tuned Bengal into a party society. People were known not by their religion, but by their party affiliation”. The BJP, on the other hand, “has been successful in reigniting communal tension and polarising the people”.

Pal also speaks about the accusations against Mamata Banerjee of minority appeasement, the Gorkhaland conflict, and the stifling of dissent.


Text by Salil Ahuja.

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