Mamata Banerjee stormed into power in West Bengal in 2011 while emerging as a flag bearer of the voice of downtrodden and poor. Her victory, ending the 34-year-old Left rule in the state, is often attributed to her spearheading of the Nandigram protest. The massive protest in which 14 people were shot dead by police was against setting up of a special economic zone. She fought against ‘grabbing’ of cultivable land of the farmers. The same lady is now seen on the sides of alleged scamstars!
The other side of Didi became more evident after demonetisation. Her demand along with Arvind Kejriwal’s for rollback of ban on old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes came as a surprise to the nation. Had it been Congress or any other national party – seen as symbol of corruption – it would not have been surprising. But here are two political stalwarts, known for their ‘simplicity’ and voice against corruption. Kejriwal, in fact, stormed into Delhi assembly from nowhere, only for his ‘fight’ against corruption. It’s also their ‘simplicity’ that they rode on to grab power. Now they are surprising the nation, again.
In the past two months, the Mamata brigade is more on the streets of Delhi than in West Bengal, to protest arrest of two MPs in Rose Valley chit fund scam. The protests, also powered by Trinamool’s massive strength of 33 Lok Sabha MPs, appear to be counterproductive. What the Trinamool is laying stress is the timing of arrests, not on the ‘innocence’ of the MPs per se. Mamata must show patience for the court to give its verdict. And she is blaming Modi for an inquiry instituted by the then UPA government! Just days ahead, she expressed solidarity with the Tamil Nadu chief secretary, whose house was raided by Income Tax officials. Was it necessary? What the nation is apparently seeing as a massive clampdown on corruption, is being termed as political vendetta by the Mamata brigade. Is Mamata making this move at the cost of her popularity? Or she has once again revived her dream of becoming the Prime Minister?
(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on January 7, 2017)