On Sunday night, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee began her high profile drama with an indefinite dharna in Kolkata and propagating bizarre conspiracy theories such as that a coup against her government is underway. She made many absurd claims but didn’t provide any proof to substantiate them. While the pliant media and street journalists are jubilant over Didi’s return to her ‘street fighter’ avatar, they are conveniently forgetting or pretending to ignore, that it is for a cause on which Mamata Banerjee is on the back foot. Although, West Bengal CM has managed to garner political support for her theatrics, at the same time she has also emerged as a vindictive, stubborn and obnoxious politician who is leaving no stone unturned to shield an allegedly corrupt cop. Her act does not even remotely give any impression that she is ‘saving democracy’.
A furious Mamata Banerjee thundered on Sunday night, “I can assure….I am ready to die but I am not ready to bow down before the Modi government and we won’t allow imposition of Emergency…please save India, save democracy, save the Constitution.” These dramatic words and emotive phrases do not make any sense at all when the person in question who employed them is in power and has earned a reputation of being a ruthless politician whose party supporters wreaked havoc on the common population during the Panchayat elections.
Moreover, the ‘street fighter’ or the so-called ‘agitator avatar’ worked well when Mamata was in opposition. Mamata Banerjee is not in the opposition anymore. This is not a Singur moment. Kejriwal’s downfall after the sweeping victory is a glaring testament to the fact that a CM acting like an Opposition leader is bound to irk the constituents. In Bengal, Mamata’s popularity is nose-diving every day. Her bastion is crumbling.
With her latest high-profile dharna drama, Mamata has only ended up making her task difficult. Her attempt to polarize electorate by targeting the BJP, PM Modi and Amit Shah, CM Mamata has ended up making BJP the chief opposition in the state. In the last year’s Bengal Panchayat elections, the saffron party has already showed that the TMC’s dominance won’t go unchallenged. It will face serious opposition from BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The landslide victory of Trinamool Congress in Bengal panchayat elections marred with violence and intimidation came with a red flag for Mamata Banerjee. Firstly, because of the BJP’s emergence as the second largest party in the Panchayat polls despite attacks, threats, and violence against BJP candidates and all sorts of malpractices employed by the TMC from booth capturing to the looting of Ballot paper boxes to win the elections. Secondly, panchayat poll results showed that the BJP has gained significant clout in the former Maoist stronghold- districts such as Purulia and Jhargram.
For more details: BJP making in-roads in Mamata’s tribal bastion, indicate panchayat election results
Overall, Mamata Banerjee’s attempt to push ‘Centre vs State’ narrative is a win-win situation for the BJP. The BJP will use her acts to defend an allegedly corrupt cop as an electoral issue to attack her and the much-hyped proposed Mahagathbandhan during the elections. With all enthusiasm, it will spread the narrative that grand alliance against the BJP is ‘of the corrupts, by the corrupts, and for the corrupts’. The BJP won’t shy away in referring Mahagathbandhan as MahaTHUGbandhan. Interestingly, 2G and IRCTC scam accused have also supported Mamata Banerjee.
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav and DMK leader Kanimozhi arrive at Kolkata Airport to meet West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. pic.twitter.com/Z47tAUiFt8
— ANI (@ANI) February 4, 2019
At national politics level, it may give some temporary advantage to Mamata Banerjee, but it will further widen the cracks in the Mahagathbandhan against the BJP as one member getting more media attention and more importance would be unacceptable to all other PM aspirants. Especially, when everybody in the said alliance has Prime Ministerial ambitions.
However, the biggest loser in all this Mamata vs CBI war is neither Mamata nor the BJP, it is the Congress and the Left. There is a split among the leaders of the Congress party on which side to take. While the Congress President Rahul Gandhi has extended his support to Mamata’s whims, Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary, prominent Congress leader, and state party president, has attacked Mamata Banerjee for instigating the constitutional crisis.
For more details: Split in Congress on Bengal crisis, state party president hits out at Mamata
The Left is ranting both against the BJP and the TMC but no one is paying any heed to what they are saying except the members of their echo chamber. There are no takers of holier than thou attitude of Left.
In a case where there is a split in the National and State leadership of the Congress, Left is increasingly becoming politically irrelevant, the direct showdown between a vindictive Mamata and a rising BJP is more than likely to benefit the saffron party considering the fact that anti-TMC votes are likely to consolidate in its favor, and anti-incumbency factor would also work in BJP’s favor in West Bengal.