The poll results announced on May 2 meant that Trinamool Congress (TMC) got the mandate for a third straight term in the office. However, Mamata Banerjee, the TMC supremo, lost her seat against BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari at the hotly contested Nandigram seat. The results of the seat were a topsy turvy ride, and at one point, Mamata was momentarily crowned the champion before her world came crashing down. Now, the Chief Minister is mulling contesting from her old seat Bhowanipore in the hope to retain her post.
To stay Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee has to contest by-polls within six months and become a member of the state legislative assembly. Article 164 of the constitution says a minister who is not an MLA within six months has to resign. Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay, the TMC MLA who won from Bhowanipore resigned in the Bengal assembly yesterday, paving the path for Mamata to contest the election.
However, the decision to parachute back to her traditional seat could backfire for Mamata. Firstly, she had casually ditched her constituency voters and never even once turned to them to try and reason the decision to pacify them. The step-brotherly treatment meted will surely play on the minds of the voters and opposition would milk it as an opportunity to corner the TMC queen bee.
Mamata got embroiled in a battle of egos and eventually lost the election against Adhikari who always had the upper hand in Nandigram. Moreover, the fact that voters of Bengal have seen Mamata’s true ‘reign of terror’ immediately after the election results should also make them queasy from voting for Mamata.
The TMC goons have unleashed their violence on BJP voters and supporters by lynching and murdering them, torching their houses and offices, gang-raping women and committing all sorts of atrocities.
The Narada sting tapes and bribery scam has further put Mamata on the backfoot. Wary that the arrest of her close aides could open the Pandora box of investigations against her, the TMC leader has started heckling CBI from doing its job.
Reported by TFI, during a High Court hearing, the premier investigative agency of the country lamented that it could not seek custody of the arrested TMC politicians “as a result of the terror created by and at the behest of the arrested accused persons” in the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and others.
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on May 9 had given his permission to the CBI to prosecute TMC leaders Sovan Chatterjee, Firhad Hakim, Madan Mitra and Subrata Mukherjee in the Narada sting tapes. However, soon after the arrests, a huge crowd of alleged TMC goons gathered outside the CBI’s Kolkata office, led by Mamata, apparently looking to frighten the investigative agency.
According to media reports, Mamata Banerjee, her law minister Moloy Ghatak and party leader Kalyan Banerjee have now been made a party to the Narada bribery case as well.
Thus, the voters of Bhowanipore have the wild card in their hands to extoll revenge from Mamata. The competition is expected to be fierce, one that can potentially decide if Mamata will stay at the top administrative position in the state or not. If Mamata loses in Bhowanipore, it would be the perfect microcosm example of the just-concluded assembly polls.