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Didi rocks UPA boat, builds her battleship

delhi Updated: Sep 19, 2012 23:57 IST
Pankaj Vohra

By withdrawing support to the UPA-II government on the issue of diesel hike and FDI, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has made the position of all other Congress allies extremely untenable.

Mamata's decision appears to be the result of a very well thought out strategy on her part, and by severing links with the Congress, she has tried to identify herself with the aam aadmi.

In sharp contrast, the Congress has started looking like a party that is leaning more towards the right, which could be very detrimental to its overall image as and when the next parliamentary poll takes place.

Mamata, who has done her political apprenticeship in the Congress, knows her previous organisation better than many who run it now.

Her action is therefore likely to have ramifications even within the Congress, where many leaders regard the controversial measures as "pro-elitist" because they do not address the worries of the common man.

Significantly, the Congress has tried to play down Mamata's dramatic announcement and is willing to negotiate with her.

The Bengal Tigress ended nearly three decades of Left rule in her own state and has, by her action, snatched their agenda of opposing price hike and FDI to checkmate them further.

Mamata made some very important political statements on Tuesday night to put both the Congress and the Left on the defensive.

By declaring that her ministers would resign after the auspicious Jumma (Friday) prayers, she has ensured that the huge Muslim population in the state gets a message of solidarity. Secondly, she has also attempted to dispel any impression that she was talking in the political idiom of the BJP when she said that the reforms were diversionary tactics to take the attention off Coalgate.

She could thus become the rallying point of secular forces.

The prime factor in her favour is that Mamata is viewed by the political class as a street fighter with unimpeachable integrity despite often being temperamental and unpredictable.

She is both an honest politician and a mass leader, a comparison difficult to match by any of the contemporary political leaders.

For those wanting to project Narendra Modi as the next political superstar, Mamata's enhanced stature will always be a major threat.

Congress allies will also have to review their positions if they need to have long-term plans.

They have to ascertain whether their association with the Congress will prove disastrous during the next elections or whether taking a similar position of identifying themselves with the common man as Mamata has done will give them a new lease of life.