oppn parties Didi in Trouble? Not Really

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  • The government says Covid-19 is still in local transmission stage in India
  • Government scotches rumours of extending the lockdown beyond April14. Says no such plan
  • Centre asks states to give shelter and food to migrant workers to stop them from taking to the streets
  • RBI cuts repo rate by 75 bps, the steepest in 10 years
  • Centre writes to states regarding laxity in monitoring people who had arrived from abroad between January and March
  • Kerala reports a spurt in new cases
  • With 124 fresh cases on Friday, the number of reported cases in India stand at 854
  • Five of a family, including a 9-month-old-baby test positive for Covid-19 in Nadia district in West Bengal on Friday
  • The Pakistani army is reportedly forcibly moving all Covid-19 patients to PoK and Gilgit
  • Untimely azaans in J&K mosques spark panic gathering
  • Stocks rise - Sensex up by 1400 points and Nifty goes above the 8600 mark
  • Rahul Gandhi says the economic package is "the first step in the right direction"
  • The government announces wide-ranging measures to help the poor overcome the economic hardship caused by Covid-19
  • G20 leaders to hold a virtual meeting today to explore ways of fighting Covid-19 in a coordinated manner
  • The Delhi government orders testing of all medical staff after the positive test on a Delhi mohalla clinic doctor
Death toll reaches 27 as Covid-19 cases across India reach 974 on Saturday
oppn parties
Didi in Trouble? Not Really

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2016-04-29 13:48:00

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.