Mamata Banerjee’s TMC acts as opposition, reacts as ally
If not anything else, one shouldn’t take West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s stance seriously in run-up to the 2019 general elections. Banerjee seems to have mastered the craft of pretending to be someone which she isn’t or saying something which she herself doesn’t believe in. That’s all she has been doing for all these years in power in the eastern state.
Banerjee pretends to be a vehement critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but that’s just a ploy to misguide the electorate, as few moves have proved her under-the-table alliance with Modi beyond doubt. If we leave aside the choice of vice-chairman of the Rajya Sabha election and few other issues preceding that, Banerjee has matched the expectations of the saffron party shot for shot, and at every crucial juncture.
Now, the day when most of the opposition parties called for a Bharat Bandh, Banerjee decided to stay away though voicing her concern over the rising fuel prices and falling Rupee against the American dollar. If her statements are anything to go by, it will propel the voters to think that she is against the NDA government, but in reality she actually helped the NDA government getting away with all their draconian moves in the parliament.
The bonhomie between Banerjee and Modi was exposed on Monday. In ideal circumstances, West Bengal should have observed a full bandh (not that I advocate for any strike) considering the stance of all West Bengal parties — Trinamool Congree, Congress and the Left — of opposing the government on anything and everything it does at the centre. But on the contrary, Mamata unleashed warnings to the state government employees that if they do not attend office on Monday, they would lose a day’s pay. This itself worked against the oppositions’ call and in favour of BJP who are defending the rising prices syndrome in whatever way they could.
Not only that, the public transport authorities were ordered to work “as usual” despite two vehement critics of Modi — Congress and Left — are gunning for the state to shut down for the day. Moreover, she assured the authorities that the state government will compensate any damage to their vehicles or properties. If this isn’t siding with the NDA government, then what is?
West Bengal Pradesh Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury took the opportunity to hit back at Banerjee on Monday. “She is playing the role of opposition in the centre while on the other hand, she doing her best to make the bandh unsuccessful,” Chowdhury said during a protest in the city.
Meanwhile, only Banerjee cannot be blamed for the double standards, there are others too. Take for instance Shiv Sena. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party also follows the same tactic when it comes to be decisive. The only difference between TMC and Sena is, the latter is an official ally while the former is on the opposition block on paper.