Now that the Karnataka election drama has come to a close, we have finally got a Chief Minister for the state of Karnataka. Although HD Kumaraswamy’s party barely managed to cross 35 seats in the elections, he is ironically taking the oath as CM of Karnataka on 23 May, with ‘unconditional’ support from the very same Congress that was crying hoarse against the JD(S) before the election campaign even began.
Messages of gratitude and greetings began flooding in for Kumaraswamy and his allies. However, what stood out was this tweet by the incumbent Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee:-
Democracy wins. Congratulations Karnataka. Congratulations DeveGowda Ji, Kumaraswamy Ji, Congress and others. Victory of the 'regional' front
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) May 19, 2018
Though this tweet might seem innocuous to some (and ironic to millions), one should notice the deliberate quotation of the word regional. Of all things, the ever opportunistic Chief Minister from Trinamool Congress has once again stressed on the creation of a nationwide ‘regional’ alliance to challenege the BJP in the upcoming 2019 elections, and even defeat them, if possible.
The fact that Mamata Banerjee harbors ambitions of sitting in the PM seat is nothing new. She has met most of the major opposition leaders before in this regard. Like Mayawati in 2009, she does have a sizeable clout in national politics, and wants to extend her regional power throughout the nation, even if the nation is put in jeopardy for her personal ambitions.
Without dwelling too much into her tyrannical rule, let’s decipher the cryptic message in her tweet. While congratulating HD Kumaraswamy, she also took note of his illustrious father, HD Deve Gowda, who had once ruled the country as the Prime Minister from 1996-1997, when a fractured mandate gave a hung Parliament, with no party securing enough for a comfortable majority. Surprisingly, she did not mention the name of the Congress top brass even once, especially Congress party President Rahul Gandhi, who considers himself to be a suitable candidate for the seat of the PM in 2019.
However, Mamata Banerjee has her reasons for this seemingly confident approach. As of now, she is apparently one of the very few ‘credible’ faces that the opposition can afford to bank on during the 2019 elections. Given the performance in the previous few elections since the Uttar Pradesh elections this time last year., everyone knows the futility of having Rahul Gandhi as an acceptable national leader of a grand alliance.
His ridiculous speeches and references aside, there is no other leader who could serve as an effective replacement. Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati are no more the powerful king makers they once used to be, and Arvind Kejriwal is more of a laughing stock now than he ever was.
So that leaves us with just one option as an acceptable leader for the grand opposition in the 2019 elections: Mamata Banerjee. Therefore it wouldn’t be a surprise if she plays the regional card to gain the required momentum for the 2019 elections.Even though taking the Congress top brass by the horns isn’t the best option to start a campaign with, they wouldn’t hesitate to repeat the same treachery as that of the 1996 elections, with the sole common intention of preventing the BJP from keeping power in the Centre.
However, does that mean Mamata will be the face behind the entire opposition that shall challenge the Modi-Shah duo? The truth is far from it. Unless we see something on the lines of what happened in Bihar, it is highly unlikely that the entire opposition unites for a single aim. Infighting for the bigger share is bound to happen, and it would be interesting to see this slugfest , if it will be Mamata (and all) vs Modi in 2019, or if it will be Mamata (and all) vs Congress vs Modi in 2019. Either way, the 2019 Lok Sabha elections will make for an interesting political tug of war.