Ignis fatuus: Satraps no match to Modi
When Trinamool Congress sounded bugle for the formation of an anti-BJP front the other day, it threw up several questions on the Opposition unity in the country.
When Trinamool Congress sounded bugle for the formation of an anti-BJP front the other day, it threw up several questions on the Opposition unity in the country. West Bengal's third time CM Mamata Banerjee may have been enthused to take on the BJP under the firm leadership of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah because of her continued success in her State, but it still does not explain the reason for her optimism on her perceived national role.
Mamata fought the BJP on her own, reducing the Left and Congress to eat a humble pie in the end. TMC gained at the cost of both the parties. Of course, Mamata was greatly helped by Rahul Gandhi. The latter, of course, plays a stellar role in reducing his party to rubble at every given opportunity if only to defeat the BJP. It may be a strategic move on his party, his loyalists might acclaim, but does not augur well for the grand old party of India a bit.
Mamata seeks to be the boss of the entire Opposition on the pretext of her secular credentials (read pro-minority). Still, TMC is a regional party limited to West Bengal just like SP, RJD, BSP, NCP, TRS, YSRCP etc which have strongholds in other states. The interests of these parties clash with those of TMC even if those are against BJP. Parties like BSP and SP cannot join hands that easily. Even if they come together in Uttar Pradesh, they are not comfortable with the Congress in company. TMC leadership which is trying to pitch Mamata's leadership as an alternative to BJP in 2024 does not accept anyone's leadership other than its own. More significantly, Mamata has not really endeared herself to the voters across the country in general due to her stand on "outsiders" whom she branded as goons throughout her campaign. She was more particular about Gujaratis, Biharis and UP people, against whom she raved and rant in the elections.
Going by her own standards, the country should throw her back to West Bengal because of her Bengali identity. That, in effect, only means that she has stymied her stature to confine herself to her State. This is the problem with many heads of the political parties. It would be difficult for the voters to accept a regional party leader nowadays as a competitor to Modi. All said and done, whether one agrees or not, Rahul Gandhi alone has that pan-Indian identity as a political leader despite his faltering political career. It would be a great mistake if Mamata attempts to create a grouping minus the Congress.
Just as she prefers a secondary role for others in West Bengal, she should be prepared to play a similar role at the national level. Yet, another drawback with Mamata Banerjee is her partisan governance that clearly spells her preferential vote blocks. Not a good sign for the Opposition if it seeks to rally around her as the Modi-Shah duo will easily exploit the chinks in her armour in the larger arena.