Someone said it right; class is determined by the actions one takes, and not the amount of bucks in one’s pocket. As the season for 2019 elections draws closer, one would inadvertently tend to make comparisons among both the national and the regional players, who would make a significant change in the elections.
Who better to start with than the chief ministers of the two high profile states of India: Bengal and Odisha. While one is led by a ‘feminist, secular’ icon, Mamata Bannerjee from Trinamool Congress, the other is led by the simple, but steadfast Naveen Patnaik. Both have a significant presence in national politics and are viewed by the political experts as potential ‘kingmakers’ in the upcoming elections.
However, it is imperative to know as to how they fare on the requisite fronts of a charismatic, able politician. When it comes to maintaining a class, Naveen Patnaik wins the game hands down. In an environment, where politicians won’t even hesitate to use even the vilest of abuses, Naveen has managed to maintain political courtesy and decorum, and also perform admirably a rare, but constructive opposition to the current NDA government. Though he was once an NDA ally, he has turned completely neutral, neither pro BJP nor pro Congress, a feat rarely visible in the opposition today.
However, this is not the same with Mamata Bannerjee. A politician, who left the ‘draconian NDA’ for the sake of democracy, freedom of speech and expression etc. She wouldn’t even hesitate from going on the offensive, if need be.
Using beautiful, pleasant words which even a woman from the slums would refrain from, like ‘bamboo at the back, ‘rope around waist’, ‘dangabaaz’ etc., Mamata has an extremely soft corner for the opposition, so much that she threatens them to stay silent for the next 10 years. Need we remind the readers of her royal tantrums in the swearing in ceremony of the Karnataka CM, HD Kumaraswamy? Unfortunately, Shri Naveen Patnaik has no time for such legendary etiquettes.
Often Naveen Babu is accused of being an introvert and self centered. The detractors are quite right, for he is so self centered that even though Odisha was not a part of the notorious BIMARU faction, he literally pulled Odisha out of the mess that most of his predecessors, especially politicians from Congress, had put this famous state in. Even though he is in the opposition, he skipped his democratic responsibility by neither voting against BJP in the vote of confidence, nor joining the compassionate UPA lobby.
Naveen Patnaik is self centered to that extent that he not only supports the NRC initiative of Assam, but also wants to implement that in his own state in order to weed out the illegal immigrants. He is so selfish that he demands for field hockey to be designated as ‘India’s national game’, apart from giving full backing to the Indian hockey teams and the upcoming Hockey World Cup, to be held in Bhubaneswar.
On the other hand, the all powerful, and benevolent CM of Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, painted by the intellectuals as an epitome of grace, showed her gratitude by giving shelter to the Rohingyas in Darjeeling, and also promises to give shelter to the 40 lakh illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, who would probably be evicted from Assam if NRC is implemented in letter and spirit. She is so worried about democracy that she wouldn’t hesitate to join the Mahagathbandhan on the eve of the Karnataka CM’s swearing in ceremony, despite knowing about the possible consequences. She is so caring that she has no time to felicitate the heroes of her state who bring laurels for the nation, but has enough time to question the character of a rape victim and imprison people for making cartoons.
As 2019 draws closer, it would be interesting to see who prevails as a ‘kingmaker’ . A caring, affectionate CM from Bengal who would not even hesitate the national security to the winds, or an introvert, self centered CM from Odisha, who would do everything to keep the essence of democracy intact. The choice is yours.