New Delhi: Crisis of willpower is one type of challenge. Over-enthusiasm and unrealistic fake claims are different yardsticks, and these can lead to a weak foundation and political illusion. Therefore, people say – to be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.
The just concluded assembly polls, while endorsing Moditva in more ways than one, they could expose the stark double standards of the Mamata Banerjee-led outfit.
In Meghalaya, Mukul Sangma, former Chief Minister, would be today licking his wounds and lamenting his decision to associate with Trinamool Congress. His party got the tag of ‘Bengali party’ in the State where insiders-outsiders issues are politically relevant.
Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek held large rallies and repeatedly assured mainly Khasis and Garo tribespeople that the Trinamool Congress was not a Bengali party. Now comes the vital part and sheer opportunism and double standards.
Mamata Banerjee behaved like a ‘super Didi’ for Tripura from a bigger State, West Bengal. There were similarities between the two States in terms of linguistic, cultural and other similarities.
Bengal-based TV media were well managed, and publicity was ensured. In Meghalaya, too, the media handled Trinamool with kid gloves and gave considerable space to Mamata Banerjee and her party colleagues.
But the party failed to make any mark. It was expected as Tripura hardly has a large Bengali Muslim population -who, for long, in West Bengal are Mamata’s dedicated vote bank.
But Mamata’s campaign in Tripura was an utterly parochial and pro-Bangla type.”We feel at home here — our language, food, and culture are the same,” she would say.
The Trinamool Congress also ignored the Tipra Motha party that seeks to cater to the interest of 35 per cent of the native tribal population. Tripura tribals have a distinct history, language, culture, and customs.
It failed to open an account in Tripura, and the vote share was 0.88 per cent. In Meghalaya, Trinamool could win only five seats, and the vote share stood at 13.78 per cent.
Moreover, in Tripura, in many segments, out of only 28 it fought, the Trinamool Congress candidates polled votes much lower than the NOTA figures.
Contrast these to assertive statements. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee herself said on January 18 that the Trinamool Congress was the only alternative to the “proxy BJP govt (of Conrad Sangma)in Meghalaya.
On so-called Opposition unity, one important aspect needs to be highlighted. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi came to Meghalaya and slammed the Trinamool Congress perhaps more than the Conrad Sangma-led NPP. The Opposition seems to have been further divided in the just concluded polls.
In Nagaland, the NDPP-BJP win is a significant development. There is a ray of hope for those who want the fight against extortion to be given more teeth and a political solution to the Naga insurgency expedited. That window was opened on the polling day, February 27 itself, by no less than Home Minister Amit Shah.
His tweet and reference to the ‘peace process’ was actually a key message. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also in his own style at the February 24 election rally, made a reference to his 2017 meeting with Gaon Burras.
PM Modi is keen to deliver because he thrives in fulfilling such promises. At the national level, till it happened, sceptics and Modi detractors kept on mocking the Ram temple and Art 370. The usual Congress criticism used to be ‘BJP says they will make the temple, but they will never promise you any date’.
So it is sincerely hoped that Modi has fixed a calendar of his own. And if so, any time frame is possible.
Importantly again, on the polling day, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio also did something unthinkable. He called both the NSCN-IM and NNPG “strong groups” and lauded the two sides for coming together with a joint statement on January 14, 2023.
In Nagaland, the BJP won 12 seats and NDPP 25 after they shared the 20:40 seat share formula. The real winner of the 2023 polls is thus the saffron party.