Issue :   
April 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.         April 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:Apr' 2018

SIGNALS FROM WEST BENGAL

What's Mamata up to ?

Subhrangshu Gupta

TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee skipped Sonia Gandhi's all-party meeting on February 1. The meeting was called for finalizing a joint strategy both in Parliament and outside against the BJP.

Mamata Banerjee The CPI(M) at its central committee meeting in Kolkata on January 25 had rejected Sitaram Yechury's proposal for forging a political understanding with the Congress against the BJP though the party leadership agreed that the saffron party had become a threat to the country's unity and integrity. The matter will have to rediscussed in the forthcoming party congress.
TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee also skipped Sonia Gandhi's all-party meeting on February 1 in the capital. The meeting was called for finalizing a joint strategy both in Parliament and outside against the BJP. Mamata, however, sent Derek O' Brien, the party's Rayya Sabha leader at the meeting as her emissary for keeping her option free in the future on the issue.
Only three days ago, she also skipped another similar anti-BJP meet called by the NCP leader, Sharad Pawer. Pawer was present at Sonia's meeting , which among others, was attended by the NC leader Farooq Abdulla, the RJD's Jaiprakash Narayan Yadav( Lallu Yadav in now in jail), D Raja(CPI), Ramgopal Yadav (SP), Ajit Singh(RLD), former prime minister Manmohan Singh. But no one was present from AAP, Mayawati's BSP, Naveen Patnaik's BJD and the CPI(M).
The BJP suffered a major set-back in Rajasthan in the recently held byelections for the Lok Sabha seats at Ajmer and Alwar which the party lost to the Congress. The party's popularity also was much eroded in several other states because of its harsh communal policy and faulty economic, fiscal and monetary decisions added with the disastrous demonitisation steps.
A section in the party's leadership started realizing that the Modi magic

At present, Mamata's relation with AAP is not all sweet. Kejriwal has not whole-heartedly come forward to join hand with her against the BJP and the Congress. JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav still has been Mamata's supporter . RJP leader Lallu Yadav also supported Mamata openly.

Sharad Yadav and Lallu Yadav But Mayawati, Naveen Patnaik and others are unwilling to accept Mamata's leadership.
of 2014 was nowhere evident now. They feel that unless the party changes its policies on various social, economic, financial matters, it will be difficult for them to sustain any mass support in the coming state elections and 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
But the BJP had considerably gained the public support in the eastern states, particularly, in Assam, Odissa and West Bengal. In West Bengal, the party has established its position as the main opposition part, replacing the Congress and the CPI(M). This has been a cause of concern for both these parties.
The BJP's rise in Bengal has been disturbing the TMC. Mamata, now and then , is raising " jehad" against BJP and the RSS . She is also inviting all like-minded and secular parties to be united against Narendra Modi. The CPI(M) central leadership has not responded well. Some Congressmen in Bengal are not eager to accept Mamata's leadership. Leaders of other regional parties also are not willing to accept Mamata's leadership.

Mayawati and Naveen Patnaik Prior to 2014 poll, Mamata once tried to establish herself as a national leader and accordingly, she had mobilized the support of several regional parties against the BJP and the Congress. She got the blessings of Anna Hazare. But on the question of her leadership and the future prime ministership, Anna backed out. Anna also did not acknowledge and accept Arvind Kejriwal's political leadership whom he once accepted in his dharna manch in Delhi in his campaign against corruption and all other ill-practices in the society.

Rahul Gandhi and Sunil Jakhar At present, Mamata's relation with AAP is not all sweet. Kejriwal has not whole-heartedly come forward to join hand with her against the BJP and the Congress.
JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav still has been Mamata's supporter. RJP leader Lallu Yadav also supported Mamata openly. But Mayawati, Naveen Patnaik and others are unwilling to accept Mamata's leadership. Mamata also did not open her mouth on the question of accepting Rahul Gandhi's leadership ( prime ministership) .
Mamata says she is not for the prime minister's chair. She is not campaigning and mobilizing support from other parties for that goal. But she very much wants that the BJP and RSS raj should come to end forthwith and the country be saved from a great disaster.
But Mamata knows it well that it will not be an easy task for her and other secular parties to remove the BJP from power.
The two major parties, the Congress and the BJP, are now busy in preparing themselves for the coming state polls Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram. Elections in all these states will be held in 2018 and 2019 prior to the Lok Sabha poll in 2019.
The Lok Sabha will retire on June 3, 2019 and its elections will have to be held in April-May. The next Assembly polls will be due in some states like Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh, Telenghana, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Sikkim in 2019.
In the elections in 2016 and 2017, the BJP won in Assam, UP, Uttarakhand and Goa, while in Puducherry, Punjab, Manipur , the Congress won. The ADMK won in Tamil Nadu, the LDF in Kerala and the TMC in West Bengal.
Of the total 29 states, the ruling BJP has been controlling, directly or indirectly, some 18 states. Amit Shah claims they will fulfill their target of 350 seats ( total 543 plus 2)in the Lok Sabha in 2019 polls.
But the results of the recently held by polls and the elections in the civic and different local bodies, including the panchayats, indicate somewhat a gloomy picture for the BJP. However, does the BJP triumph in the North-East, especially in Tripura, change that gloomy setting ? It does, for the present.