Siliguri, 21 Jul:
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday declared war against the BJP, pledging to send the saffron party into political exile.
And, while doing so, she also hinted of an alliance with the Congress, which in the present circumstances looks significant.
The Trinamool observes July 21 as Martyrs’ Day. Speaking at a party rally in Kolkata on the occasion, Mamata declared her party would launch a ‘BJP Quit India” movement starting August 9, which would continue for the month.
She also sounded a word of caution against the forces that have turned the Darjeeling hills restive claiming that those pulling strings from Delhi to keep the hill conflagration alive would not be able to continue for long.
While such development was in progress in Kolkata, a different script unfolded in Delhi in which, the Parliamentary Affairs minister, Ananth Kumar squarely blamed Mamata and her policies for the unrest in the Darjeeling hills.
Mamata’s diatribe against the BJP on Friday was all-encompassing. Blaming the BJP and by extension Prime Minister Narendra Modi for practically all problems in the country, Mamata chided her supporters to ensure Modi did not return to power after the next general elections.
Political parties have their agenda and the schema of one political party does not necessarily have to dovetail into another’s. But, the all-consuming attack Mamata launched against the BJP on Friday, both in context of the state and country, exposes she is worried with the BJP’s progress in West Bengal and therefore needed to activate the rank and file against the saffron brigade particularly with panchayat elections due in 2018.
The BJP has made major inroads in several parts of West Bengal including areas bordering Bangladesh, which has a reason. In a major departure from the past when Bangladeshis of all hue and community used to sneak into India primarily for economic reasons, infiltration in recent times is more on religious lines.
Settling along the border, these new arrivals threaten to upset the community equilibrium that existed along the Bangladesh border, which is leading to friction as happened a fortnight ago at the Barasat area in North 24 Parganas. These new settlers are swelling up the BJP support base posing a headache for the Trinamool.
Moreover, after the almost clean sweep in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the BJP top brass has declared to turn attention towards east India with special focus on West Bengal and Bihar for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Mamata Banerjee has sensed what is coming and so the message of alert for her supporters. But, her soft stand towards the Congress beggars curiosity.
The West Bengal Congress is rabidly anti-Mamata and if forced by its national leadership to accept an alliance with the Trinamool, the Congress might witness a rebellion in the state, if not disintegrate. Moreover, the Congress has an unwritten adjustment with the CPI-M in the state and the Marxists would simply not enter any political negotiation with Mamata’s Trinamool.
Coming together on a national cause like demonetization or President election is one thing, but forging a political alliance to contest elections even to stymie the BJP, is a different ball game.
A national alliance therefore might be in Mamata’s dream to stall the BJP, but the slips between the cup and the lip may be too many.