It is a million-dollar question in Indian politics that is it possible to make an ally of Mamata Banerjee?
by Swadesh Roy writing from Kolkata-
( April 25, 2017, Kolkata, Sri Lanka Guardian) West Bengal, the eastern state of India, is known to people of the world as the old capital city of Calcutta of British India. The city has lost its past glory, but still the people of Calcutta love to call it the `city of joy’. In the British regime, Calcutta was the center of Indian politics, but now like the change of the spelling of Calcutta to Kolkata, its political position has too been changed. In the “all Indian politics”, Kolkata now matters less than previously.
The present and most important politician of West Bengal, the Chief Minister of the state, Mamata Banerjee, is the most popular leader in West Bengal. Though she had lost some stakes in the elite and the intellectual middle class of Kolkata. However, the journalists of Kolkata still think that it did not affect her popular electoral vote, but some people say that Modi is taking stakes in the poor people. For the poor men of Kolkata and dwellers of West Bengal, Mamata is still their “Didi” (older sister). However, it is also a matter of mystery for any political analyst and even normal thinkers of how Mamata defeated a strong Left Front through an election and has already ruined the Left Front of West Bengal; but again why is she afraid of the BJP? Before she came to the power for the second time, most of the political analysts and the newspapers of India forecasted that she would take power through the election but at best would get a thin majority. Whereas the poor people of this poor state of India, the admirer of Didi; has given her power through a landslide victory in the last election.
Before coming to power, in the era of Left Front, she had anti investment prospects in industry- the so called populist, and is an agricultural or land-loving leader. From history it can be said that-as an ethnic character, Bengali is never pro-industrialist and pro-business rather they love agriculture and government jobs. In early twenties, the world- renowned scientist of Bengal- Mr. P.C Roy found out this characteristic of the Bengalis. He had tried to make Bengali pro-industrialist and pro-business, but then again in general Bengalis are not pro-business.
In British India’s Kolkata (then the spelling was Calcutta) which was the capital of British India from 1757 to 1911. So, it was the industrial and mercantile hub. After changing the capital to Delhi, business was reduced here. After the departure of British, there was a rapid downfall and now it is one of the poorest states of India. A huge number of people of West Bengal say that it is a backlash of the Left rule because it was a regime of anti-capital. In the last stage of the Left regime, the Left government tried to boost up capital; but then it was too late and also Mamata made a barricade. Now it is proved that it was her political strategy because she understood that the then time left front was losing their feet every day, the Indian National Congress became some district based political party in West Bengal. And then the Bharatio Janata Party (BJP) was still not any factor in West Bengal. So she calculated that it was her time . Her calculation was correct; by the agitation politics she became successful. She overwhelmed the Left Front in the general elections; got a huge majority and ended the 35 years left rule in West Bengal.
Now the scenario is changing in West Bengal day by day, and after ruining the Left Front and Congress, BJP now has started to get some stakes in West Bengal. Some people are thinking that it will not a big threat for Mamata’s Trinomul Congress, but some are thinking that the Modi magic can work here by any means. At present the main threat for Mamata is some corruption cases, like the Narada Chit fund case and others. Some of her party leaders are in Jail. Mamata has taken it as a political challenge, that is why by creating a pressure on Narendra Modi; she is trying to make allies of regional parties against BJP. This is why she boycotted the meeting of the all Chief Ministers with Narendra Modi on 23; before that she met Naveen Patnaik -the Chief Minister of Odisha on 19 April. In that meeting, Mamata told that BJP is dividing the country in the name of Hindu-Muslim religion. They are dividing the country using Hinduism against Muslim. She gave that speech as her political strategy, she was afraid of this division. She is thinking that if the BJP becomes successful to make this division in West Bengal, it can blow up for her in next election. This division can be the Modi magic in west Bengal like UP (Uttar Prodesh), but some of the journalists say that Bengal is not an UP so it will not be easy in West Bengal. But they also admit that the people’s mental demography is changing in West Bengal. Religion is taking more stakes in the life of common people.
On the other hand, it is a million-dollar question in Indian politics that is it possible to make an ally of Mamata Banerjee? Coalition or ally politics is tougher politics than a one party politics. Besides, Mamata is a leader of a one man party, so she is more of an autocrat than a democrat. Even in the issue of the Teesta river water sharing with Bangladesh, the way she has been behaving since the era of Monmohan Singh is not the behavior of a democratic leader. She refused to go to Dhaka with Monmohan Singh at the last moment. Was this an approach of a democratic leader? In Second week of April, she went to Delhi and proposed a proposal which was not rational whereas a democratic leader should be rational. In several times, in her life, she joined many allies and left with a manner that was not correct, so her reputation does not go with that much height which can make an ally.
Swadesh Roy, Executive Editor, the daily Janakantha, Dhaka, Bangladesh, he is a highest state award winning journalist. Can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org