The Congress victory in three states seems to have shattered Mamata’s dream of being projected as PM candidate from the coalition of opposition parties
Asim Kumar Mitra
The day on which the results of five state assemblies were out Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, was extremely morose. One should keep in mind that on that very day she had left for New Delhi to attend a meeting of opposition party leaders to chalk out plans and programmes to oust the BJP-led NDA-government at the Centre. The reason for her sadness was that the Congress had unexpectedly (for her) got a large number of seats in the election which gave the Congress the coveted chance to form government in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
It simply meant that the Congress would assume the leader’s seat of the opposition parties and Mamata would be nowhere in the picture or in other words her importance would be reduced to a great extent if not reduced to nil. Not only that her chances of becoming Prime Minister of the coalition of opposition parties would be simply shattered. This was the reason why Mamata had skipped the next meeting of the opposition leaders on the plea of some other prior engagements. So she went back to Kolkata.
Whereas initially Mamata’s first reaction to the election results was “the countdown for the last days of the BJP defeat had just started”. But then she did not hide her sentiment against the Congress party, especially against its leader Rahul Gandhi. She had stopped expressing her sentiments against BJP in strong words which was her regular habit. Instead Rahul had become her first target of criticism.
Mamata fears that now Congress may lead the opposition and she would be nowhere in the picture
So, it seemed politically Mamata was taking towards different route. For Bengal, this is the season for cultural activities. Hence, Mamata kept herself busy in cultural activities. Immediately after coming back from New Delhi, she had presided over the government sponsored four-day musical programme. In this programme she had given out awards to Bengal’s vocal music queen Sandhya Mukhopadhyay, Shaan and Arijit Singh. She had declared that musical soirees are being organised in all the districts of the state and these would be yearly events. The Chief Minister had asked all district authorities to organise Block Level musical conferences and she had made it a point to be present at all such conferences. These conferences have been utilised as part of her vote bank politics.
Another significant development in her shifting-character was noticed as if she had totally forgotten her vehemently anti-BJP stance. After the results of assembly elections were out Mamata became very much ‘soft’ towards the BJP as observed by the state political observers. After coming back from New Delhi, she had not expressed any concern about the proposed Rath Yatra. But after showing such a magnanimous attitude all of a sudden she had abruptly changed her mood and started abusing BJP and declared that the state government would never give BJP the permission to take out their proposed Rath Yatra. BJP on their part had declared that they would approach the court of law to get the required permission. Again Rath Yatra would be hanging in uncertainty.