January27 , 2022

Opinion: Mamata Banerjee’s Revenge Tourism vs The Congress



Mamata Banerjee’s two days in Mumbai this week are her type of Revenge Tourism.

The Chief Minister of West Bengal held two essential conferrals – with Sharad Pawar and Aaditya Thackeray. Both are leaders of events who run the federal government in Maharashtra with a 3rd ally – the Congress – who must be referred to as out because the weakest hyperlink within the anti-BJP Opposition league, in keeping with Mamata Banerjee.

On this, she was brutal about each the celebration and its prime chief, stating “You can’t be abroad all the time”, a blunt appraisal of Rahul Gandhi whose scanty presence on the bottom is repeatedly marked by opponents. Of his outfit, she was equally dismissive, commenting, “What is UPA? There is no UPA”, a pithy and unsentimental obit for the nationwide alliance led by the Congress.

Sharad Pawar and Mamata Banerjee in Mumbai

If her opinion on the Congress, led by the Gandhis, is specific, her personal plan is implicit: PM Banerjee. Though the 66-year-old likes to name herself “LIP” or “Least Important Person”, she is aware of that if there ever have been a time to audition for the nation’s prime job, it’s now.

In May, from the confines of a wheelchair, she collected a lush victory in Bengal, returning for a third time period as its head. Her file numbers have been much more spectacular coming, as they did, after a marketing campaign in opposition to her led by the Prime Minister and Home Minister Amit Shah and their mixed firepower.


Mamata Banerjee campaigning throughout Bengal elections

Mamata Banerjee’s conquer them was exemplary for an Opposition that appeared to have accepted that the PM was invincible in elections the place he took the lead position. And having amassed large political capital, Mamata Banerjee is now exercising her spending energy, not least by suggesting that the Congress’ impotent however aggressive self-regard as a nationwide celebration instrumental to an anti-BJP formation must be shot down.

To that finish, she is being ably assisted by aide-de-camp Prashant Kishor or “PK” who helped design her Bengal marketing campaign and has emerged as amongst her closest advisors. PK had labored earlier with the Congress in states like Punjab. And after enabling Mamata Banerjee’s re-election, he started in earnest talks for a prime position within the Congress. The negotiations have been held immediately with the Gandhis however sank over variations about PK’s position and accountability for the approaching elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.


Prashant Kishor with Mamata Banerjee

Since then, PK seems to have positioned the Congress on the centre of his dart board, hurling at it, one after one other, strikes to additional diminish its standing. Happily for him and Mamata Banerjee, that is best-accomplished by his expertise as a headhunter – he has in states starting from Goa to Meghalaya enlisted leaders from the Congress to affix Mamata Banerjee’s celebration. Many of these leaders have publicly credited PK for putting them. It seems just like the Gandhis jilted the mistaken man, a transfer not international to their playbook – and PK desires them to realize it.

Mamata Banerjee’s itinerary is prone to embrace extra conferences quickly as she roll calls different leaders to gauge whether or not they are going to conform to her as the brand new centre ahead. The undeniable fact that the Congress’ allies in Maharashtra, one of many few states it nonetheless governs, didn’t avert their eyes as she made her notions recognized, will embolden her.

“What Sharad-ji said (is that) there should be a strong alternative of those who fight. What do we do if one is not fighting?” she remarked, suggesting that the Congress’ inertia is now bogging down others who need to defeat the BJP.


Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi greeting Mamata Banerjee (File picture)

Sharad Pawar was extra circumspect, as at all times, typical of his always-shrewd politics the place he dials up or dials down strain (and assist) on demand.

Both his celebration and Mamata Banerjee’s have been born out of the Congress and so they share an anti-Congressism as a reflex, as additionally an unflattering opinion of Rahul Gandhi.

Significantly, Sharad Pawar, on an earlier event, described the Congress as an “old zamindars still reminiscing about their lost lands”.

A frontrunner from Sharad Pawar’s celebration mentioned to me, “The Congress is (still) trying to make Rahul Gandhi happen. The country has already decided that his leadership won’t happen. We have to move on. If the Congress is asleep at the wheel, it is not our problem”. Even Rahul Gandhi’s critics concede although that for all his failings, he stays a frontrunner who refuses to melt in any means his stand on the BJP and its majoritarianism politics.

So satisfied is Mamata Banerjee of the trail she is taking that in Delhi just lately, she even met Subramanian Swamy, BJP MP and perpetually unfastened cannon and ordinary Gandhi family-baiter. The subliminal message: she is completely satisfied to do enterprise with any politician who’s anti-Gandhis.

The future is changing into clearer for Opposition unity: politicians like Mamata Banerjie and Arvind Kejriwal know that they should function collectively to make a severe try at defeating the PM, whose private charisma and join with voters stays his greatest asset. But they’re additionally decided to shortly occupy the house ceded by the Congress in states like Goa to maneuver their regional identities and events to the next rung on the ladder of nationwide politics.

The Congress is not making this powerful for them. After a variety of electoral losses, it stays wandering the Self-Help aisle, with out very a lot to indicate for it. In Maharashtra, the place celebration leaders complain typically that Rahul Gandhi is in opposition to being in alliance with the Shiv Sena, although it retains the celebration in energy, MLAs are apparently prepared to maneuver to Sharad Pawar’s group if it involves that.

No surprise regional leaders are coveting a much bigger share. The Mamata Banerjee Express is boarding. Tickets now obtainable.

(Swati Chaturvedi is an creator and a journalist who has labored with The Indian Express, The Statesman and The Hindustan Times.)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed inside this text are the non-public opinions of the creator. The info and opinions showing within the article don’t replicate the views of NDTV and NDTV doesn’t assume any duty or legal responsibility for a similar.