Thursday, December 8, 2022

Mamata’s u-turn baffles political observers

Mamata Banerjee, Jagdeep Dhankhar and HHimanta Biswa Sharma in Darjeeling

The opposition leaders in India are unpredictable and disunited giving scope to the ruling BJP to perpetuate itself in power. The latest leader to throw a spear at the opposition unity is West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who declared that her party would boycott the vice-presidential polls. It is amazing to see her u-turn. The political observers are baffled to see one of very important pillars of opposition doing something unexpected and unimaginable.  Her absence at the poll would amount to helping her bête noire Jagdeep Dhankhar who was giving her trouble on day-to-day basis as governor of West Bengal.

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Mamata welcomed Yashwant Sinha in to her party and made him vice-president not very long ago. Sinha who started his career as an IAS officer proved to be a good minister in Atal Bihari Vajapayee cabinet handling two difficult portfolios- finance and external affairs. She was right in selecting him as presidential candidate. But, she was lukewarm towards him. She said had the government consulted her, she would have supported Draupadi Munru, the NDA candidate. One can understand this statement because of the strong presence of Adivasi vote in West Bengal. But to say her party would boycott vice-presidential poll is something extraordinary. The opposition candidate Margaret Alva reacted to Mamata saying that it is not time for ‘whataboutry.’ Mamata says she was not consulted before choosing Alva as the candidate. She made this statement after a meeting with Jagdeep Dhankar and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma at Darjeeling recently. None knows what transpired at the meeting. But her statement distancing herself from Alva makes one wonder at her ego-trips and emotional decision-making process. When Sharad Pawar, the NCP chief, organized a 17-party meeting in Delhi to select opposition candidate for the post of vice-president, Mamata did not send her representative. Sharad Pawar and Sonia Gandhi called her and she assured both of them that whoever is selected as opposition candidate would have her party’s support. Now the Opposition leaders feel wrong footed by Didi.

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In fact, if any party should have opposed Margaret Alva it is the Congress. Alva in her controversial interview to India Today after her stint as governor did not spare Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in her scathing criticism of the Congress dispensation. But the Congress leaders did not object to her selections. They took her criticism in their stride. Rahul Gandhi signed the statement announcing Alva as the opposition candidate.

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K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR), Telangana Chief Minister, has stopped talking about non-Congress opposition. Kesava Rao, MP, had represented the TRS in the opposition meeting to select Alva in which the Congress was present. Earlier, the TRS boycotted the opposition meeting which selected Yashwant Sinha as presidential candidate solely because it was attended by the Congress. While KCR has fallen in line of opposition unity, Mamata Banerjee with larger support base, has started drifting away. Uddhav Thackeray who was given a slip by his own party leaders who split Shiv Sena chose to support the NDA candidate in the presidential poll in order to keep the MPs with him. The faction headed by Uddhav Thackeray had voted for Murmu and the MPs had defected to Shinde group. Uddhav Thackeray, who was neither here nor there,  appears to have been taken for a ride once again by the more politically clever rivals. With this kind of opposition leaders, the BJP can happily plan toppling the governments led by the opposition parties and indulge in political skullduggery.  

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K. Ramachandra Murthy
K. Ramachandra Murthy
Founder & Editor

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