In a political coup of sorts, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee roped in BJP’s biggest ally, Shiv Sena, for her march to Rashtrapati Bhavan against the Centre’s demonetisation drive.
Flanked by AAP’s Bhagwant Mann, Shiv Sena, National Conference chief Omar Abdullah and Patidar satrap Hardik Patel’s outfit, Banerjee led a unique political combination on Wednesday, even as the Congress and the Left decided to stay away.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal skipped the march after informing Banerjee about his reservation against the Sena. But to showcase the Trinamool-AAP unity, he will hold a rally with his West Bengal counterpart on Thursday at Azadpur sabzi mandi on the same issue.
The protest march to the President became a sore point in the BJP-Sena relations, as the latter decided to flex its muscles ahead of Maharashtra’s civic body polls. The Sena is set to fight the elections alone, even as it is a part of the BJP-led government in the Centre and the state.
Party leader Anandrao Adsul told the President, “Even as we are a part of the government, we are opposing demonetisation as it is intolerable.”
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s decision comes just days after the PM shared the dais with NCP chief Sharad Pawar at a function in Pune. Sources in the party, however, said it was a calculated move to ensure that the backlash of the common citizens due to the drive was not directed at the party.
The BJP state unit was livid, with leaders pointing out that the Sena was stretching the politics of convenience to its very limits. They indicated that the repercussions of this would be felt in the upcoming high-decibel Mumbai civic polls.
Mamata asked former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah to speak first at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. A representative from Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti read out from a written memorandum in front of Mukherjee. Banerjee spoke last. She addressed him as “dada” and highlighted the plight of the common people before the leaders submitted a memorandum to the President. She told the President that common people should have been given more time to prepare for the situation.
“The move was implemented without any planning. This has created financial calamity and financial emergency in the country. The country has been pushed towards anarchy. The government should restore normalcy,” Banerjee said.
She also announced that her party will give an adjournment motion in Lok Sabha. “Since the (demonetisation) decision was announced, 20-30 people have died across the country due to stress,” said Banerjee.
(With inputs from Ketaki Ghoge)