In the calm state of Goa – a political clash is brewing with every passing day. This will be new for Indian politics. Politics in India has gotten boring. Let’s not lie to ourselves by saying it is not. But TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal seem to be spicing things up. It is a clash of Mamata and Kejriwal’s egos which is going to heat things up real soon. Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal have a lot in common. They are both devious, are accused of being anti-Hindus, are eyeing nationwide expansion for their respective parties, and most importantly, both harbour prime ministerial ambitions.
Mamata Banerjee’s all-out attack against the Gandhi-run Congress
But above all, both Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal are taking a series of steps to ensure the permanent ruination of the Congress party. Mamata Banerjee has even gone forward with an all-out attack against the Gandhi-run Congress, saying it is failing to recognise the need for the opposition to unite. Mamata Banerjee on Saturday slammed the Congress for making Prime Minister Narendra Modi (and the BJP) “more powerful” by acting as the party’s publicist.
She said, “Modiji is going to be more powerful because of the Congress… because the Congress is the BJP’s TRP (television ratings points). If they (the Congress) cannot take a decision… the country will suffer. Why (should) the country suffers…they have had enough opportunity.” Mamata added, “Instead of contesting against the BJP they (the Congress) contested against me in Bengal… the morning shows the day, don’t you think? They contest against me… my party. What do you think… we will give flowers to them?”
A clash between Kejriwal and Banerjee is inevitable
Of course, for now, both Kejriwal and Banerjee have steered clear of each other. However, given their venue of fighting it out, a clash between the two is inevitable; and when it does happen – we should be ready with bucketloads of popcorn.
Arvind Kejriwal’s strategy to beat the BJP is a bit different. He is playing the soft Hindutva card in Goa. Arvind Kejriwal on Monday promised free pilgrimage to Ayodhya and various other religious centres if the party is voted to power in Goa in the 2022 Assembly polls. He said, “If we form the government in Goa, we will arrange free pilgrimage to Ayodhya for Hindus and to Velankanni for Christians. For Muslims, we will provide a free trip to Ajmer Sharif and to Shirdi temple for those who revere Sai Baba.”
Mamata Banerjee must be getting annoyed with Kejriwal’s announcements. Earlier, Kejriwal had promised to provide employment to at least one member of each family and an unemployment allowance of Rs 5,000 per month till then. In another promise, Kejriwal also said that AAP would provide 300 units of electricity free per family per month in Goa and an uninterrupted power supply.
The TMC has failed to match up to the Aam Aadmi Party in making such radical promises. So, Banerjee would be facing the political heat already. Therefore, it will most likely be her who will fire shots at Kejriwal first in the run-up to the Goa elections.
Mamata Banerjee is also faced with a conflict. Will she ally with the Aam Aadmi Party to fight the Goa elections alongside Arvind Kejriwal? If not, how is she even keeping a straight face while saying the Indian opposition should be united? And the larger question is – if AAP and TMC cannot join hands for elections to Goa’s assembly, how can they be expected to join hands nationally, carve out a united opposition and defeat the BJP?
The egos of Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal will also play a big role in ensuring that the two never fight an election together. And until they do not, their dreams of a united opposition mounting a collective fight against the BJP will remain just that – unfulfilled dreams.