oppn parties Didi in Trouble? Not Really

News Snippets

  • In reply to a question in Parliament, the government says it is empowered to lawfully intercept, monitor or decrpyt information stored in a computer resource in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
oppn parties
Didi in Trouble? Not Really

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Is Mamata Banerjee scared of the poll outcome? Taking cue from her recent utterances where she has told people at rallies that if they find her to be a thief, they might not vote for her, analysts think that she feels that the TMC citadel is under threat from the CPM-Congress alliance and is hence putting her own spotless reputation on the line. Some analysts have also perceived the relative silence of the voters in Bengal as a pointer to another poriborton in the offing.

Mamata Banerjee has always been an emotional leader. She wears her squeaky clean image on her pallu. Any insinuation, even if indirect, is immediately taken as an affront and why not. In her several decades of public life, no one can accuse her of hobnobbing with undesirable elements or being corrupt. But the same cannot be said of some leaders in her party.

Mamata has for long tried to insulate herself from the corruption charges leveled against her trusted lieutenants. A section of the press in Bengal has been most vocal in highlighting these charges. But now, with Sharada, syndicates and sting all combining to create a pressure cooker situation before the assembly polls, she knows that people will vote for TMC only if she puts her image on the block. The euphoria of 2011 is no doubt missing and the body language of TMC leaders, including Mamata, is down, but there is not a buzz around the opposition either.

There is no doubt that corrupt leaders have sullied the image of the party. But how this will translate into negative voting is anyone’s guess. All talks of a resurgent CPM are just talks because neither does the party have a leader to match Mamata’s charishma nor is its famed cadre force as potent as it was say, 15 years ago. It was unable to start a people’s movement after successive scams that rocked the TMC government. Perhaps, after 34 years in the government, Bengal CPM has forgotten the art of opposing. Or, after enjoying the fruits of ruling the state for so long, the pot-bellied comrades do not have any fire left to renew the class struggle.

Mamata Banerjee is going to win – maybe with a reduced majority. One says this because there is very little to choose between the two major opponents (BJP is not a factor in the state) and TMC scores with Mamata’s charishma. Even that would come as a shock to her for she genuinely feels that she has done a lot for the betterment of the masses. She may not have been successful in attracting capital or creating jobs, but TMC feels they have provided reasonably good governance to the state, notwithstanding the corruption charges.

But if she is voted back to power, Mamata should recognize that this is only due to her own clean image. Rather than seeing it as an endorsement of her corrupt lieutenants (some of whom might even be shown the door by the people), she should take it as a chance offered by the people to rid herself of riff-raff and rule the state with better people – if she can find them in the party. Else, it would not be a bad idea to outsource experts and make them ministers. She has one in Amit Mitra. Others will join if didi wants them.