And Kolkata shrugged
Rushdie was prevented from attending the January 2012 JLF even by videophone. Hoping to nurture their Muslim votebank in UP, which went to the polls a month later, the Congress in Rajasthan helped keep Rushdie out. This year, West Bengal is scheduled to hold panchayat polls in May. Both the CPI(M) and the Trinamool Congress go to embarrassing lengths to woo Muslim voters and, having headed Rushdie off, Mamata Banerjee has scored.
Though it is now out of warranty, Bengalis persist in valuing Gopal Krishna Gokhale’s century-old endorsement: “What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow.” It is applied in seriousness to the state’s progressive politics and in jest to its derelict economy. So one would have expected public outrage — or at least an outbreak of black humour — at being upstaged by Rajasthan and
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