oppn parties Didi in Trouble? Not Really

News Snippets

  • Crude prices fall sharply as Saudi Arabia assures normal production in a few weeks. Prices fall by 5.4% to $65.30 per barrel
  • Sensex tumbles 700 points over fears that rising crude prices will deal a body blow to the tottering Indian economy
  • As Rajeev Kumar fails to appear before the CBI despite several notices, the agency forms a special team to locate and apprehend him
  • S Jaishankar says Pakistan is not a normal neighbour and its behaviour is a "set of aberrations"
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says PoK in Indian territory and the country hopes to have physical jurisdiction over it one day
  • Barasat Sessions court near Kolkata rejects Rajeev Kumar anticipatory bail application citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason
  • PM Modi celebrates his birthday with Narmada aarti and later has lunch with his mother.
  • All 6 Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs merge with the Congress in Rajasthan
  • Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to meet PM Modi on Wednesday, state issues on the agenda
  • Pakistan to open Kartarpur corridor on Nov 9
  • Rajeev Kumar, ex-police commissioner of Kolkata and wanted for questioning in the Sarada scam does not appear before the CBI despite the state administration requesting him to do so
  • Supreme Court asks the Centre to restore normalcy in J&K but keeping national interest in mind
  • As Trump accepts the invitation to attend a programme in Houston with PM Modi, India rushes to settle trade issues with US
  • After drone attack on Aramco's Suadi Arabia facility, oil prices jump 19% in intra-day trading causing worries for India
  • Imran Khan raises nuclear war bogey again, says if Pakistan loses a conventional war, it might fight till the end with its nuclear arsenal
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
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.