New Delhi, May 16 -- The bitterly contested Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal have been ravaged by violence the likes of which has not been seen anywhere else in the country. It is no surprise. Violence runs in the veins of Bengal's politics, and it sees an unseemly spike whenever a settled political regime is put under pressure by a resurgent opposition. What we are seeing now is the result of rivalry between the ruling Trinamool Congress and the aspiring Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which, keen to make inroads into the eastern state, has, over the past few years, bolstered its planning, network and presence on the ground.

It was ever thus. When TMC chief Mamata Banerjee made her bid to topple the incumbent Left Front government, simila...