New Delhi, Dec 4: The BJP has reasons to celebrate, thanks to the squabbling Opposition. What more could it wish than to see Mamata Banerjee attacking the Congress party on the eve of elections to five state assemblies early next year? The message that the voters are getting is that the Opposition parties cannot unite to give a fight to the resurgent BJP. The leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Choudhury, is right in saying that Mamata Banerjee is out to please Prime Minister Narendra Modi .
Trinamool boss and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is trying to form a joint opposition front sans the Congress which is the roadblock to her leadership ambition. She sought to placate Sharad Pawar, the only taller leader in the opposition camp, to realize her goal. Having received his green signal, Mamata is now expected to mount harsher attacks on the Congress, the party and its leadership the BJP is never tired of ridiculing. All this only to position herself as the Opposition’s prime ministerial candidate in 2024.
By all accounts, Mamata is doing incalculable harm to the Opposition unity. If her aim is to bring together all regional parties under her leadership, it is not easy. The regional leaders have their own ambitions which do not necessarily coalesce. The country has seen coalitions in the past, like the United Front experiment of the 1996, the V.P. Singh -led Government in 1989 or, earlier in 1977, the Government under Morarji Desai’s Janata Party rule formed by amalgamating diverse parties like the Jana Sangh, the Old Congress and splintered socialist groups. They all fell sooner than later.
The Congress party with its pan- India presence, albeit with reduced strength, must be kept in the Opposition grouping if the Modi juggernaut is to be countered effectively. A divided Opposition has little chance of success. Mamata , naturally, cannot claim leadership of the group in which the Congress is present. The question of leadership can be settled if they all abjure ambition. Mamata’s style of functioning as CM makes her no different from Modi as PM. The charges of autocratic functioning often levelled against the PM are also variously put for her as well. Anyone holding a contrarian view in TMC is not tolerated, it is alleged.
But why is such a senior and experienced leader like Pawar supporting Mamata’s move? It is true that when he was in Congress party he raised the foreign origin issue against Sonia Gandhi which led to his outer from the organization. The situation has changed since, but Pawar has not relented. He takes pot shot on Rahul’s leadership whenever he gets a chance. If their idea is to split the Congress, this is not the right time to do. The national elections are two years away, but the state elections are right at hand. If the Opposition fares poorly in the state elections, its impact will surely be felt in the parliamentary elections.
This is the time for the Opposition to get their acts together, not to fight among themselves. Mamata must be made to realize this before it is too late.