THE people of West Bengal definitely want a change of guards in the administrative arena. Opposition parties in the state, though not united, want ouster of the CPI(M) led Left Front government. Apparently, in this fight only united force was Indian National Congress (INC) and Trinamool Congress (TMC). But now they are engaged in pursuing the policy of “Blow hot and blow cold”. INC in its plenary session at Burari declared that BJP is the enemy No. 1 for them and not the CPI(M). Not that Mamata Banerjee loves BJP, in fact at one time her party was with BJP-led NDA, but that is an old story, at the same time Mamata thinks CPM is more virulent. “In the context of West Bengal politics, CPM is enemy no. 1”, said Mamata. She did not make any comment on BJP.
Mamata lost no time to threat INC saying that if the Central Government is not going to withdraw the joint forces from Jangal Mahal she would resign from the central ministry. She did not stop there. She would go alone in the ensuing state assembly election and sever relationship with INC as coalition partner. Although the immediate reaction of the state Congress leadership was that if TMC went out of the coalition it would help the CPM to win the election hands down.
Undaunted Mamata was stuck to her own decision. The stern attitude of Mamata compelled the Congress leadership to buzz. Actually the Joint Forces sent by the Central Government was being misused by the L. F. government. The CPM goons in the guise of joint forces (sometimes even in the uniform of joint forces) led a reign of terror by killing their political opponents especially the TMC workers. Mamata challenged by saying that she has got proofs of every incident.
The general secretary of INC (in-charge of West Bengal affairs) Keshav Rao told, “Don’t worry Mamata is not going desert the coalition. Because she knows that this will be suicidal for her and at the same time politically CPM will get upper hand which she will never allow.”
But this time Mamata was irritated for other reasons too. At the plenary session of the Congress, the West Bengal unit had selected Deepa Das Munshi (wife of Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, as spokesperson of the state just to irritate Mamata as she does not like her for her anti-Mamata stand. Over and above, Manas Bhuniya, president, state unit of the Congress, said that they did not like Mamata’s attitude to ignore the Congress. After all, Congress has got its own vote bank in the state.
Even then, the central leadership of the INC is very careful in dealing with Mamata. They do not want to annoy Mamata. Rigidity or obstinacy did not pay them. For example, by sending Rahul Gandhi, they have already tasted worst type of defeat in Bihar and put the APCC on the verge of committing suicide. They could not understand the nerve or sentiment of Andhra Pradesh and alienated Jaganmohan. So they do not want to take any risk so far as dealing with Mamata is concerned.
They are now trying to find out Mamata’s positive towards INC and in this regard they have found that Mamata did not disturb the UPA government in regard to 2G Spectrum scam or CWG scam. No agitation programme was organised by TMC in this regard. Again TMC is not so vocal in pressing the demand for JPC. Perhaps this is the reason why Central Government has agreed to withdraw Joint Force from Jangal Mahal. Although this order has not yet come in so many words, but central Home Minister P Chidambaram has already written a letter to Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal asking him to excesses done by the joint forces under the instruction of the state government. Firstly the state government had tried to ignore the receipt of the letter. But ultimately they had to agree that the said letter did come to the state secretariat.
Again why this letter-politics by the INC? Because Congress is apprehensive of Mamata’s attitude in regard to allotment of party candidates for the assembly election Among assembly 294 seats Mamata may allow 25 to 30 seats to Congress which will be most unfortunate for them. For getting absolute majority for her party in the assembly election Mamata needs to fight in at least 250 seats. For state Congress this would be a derogatory situation and so they are all out to pursuing face-saving exercises. In an appeal to Mamata the state president of the Congress, Manas Bhuniya had said can we not expect that Mamata would show some kind of sobriety towards a political party of more than hundred years.
Political pundits are of the opinion that there is no doubt that whatever may be the situation between INC and TMC- CPM is definitely cornered and they are going to lose the election because of their own party factionalism. Their own members will let them down.