Delhi’s headline-making smog has everyone worried, including West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. “What is the solution to the problem of the Delhi pollution? We need to find one. We are all very concerned,” she tweeted on Monday.
But, it is not just the Delhi air that has the Trinamool Congress chief worried. In the last few months following her impressive showing in the state election, the Bengal chief minister is watching the Capital’s political weather closely.
“She is one of the pivotal forces for any possible non-BJP alliance. She is keen to leverage the position,” a party MP said.
She sent her trusted lieutenant Derek O’Brien to Bhiwani in Haryana before Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal arrived for the funeral of Ram Kishan Grewal. A retired soldier, Grewal committed suicide allegedly over discrepancies in a military pension plan.
The Modi government came under fire from the opposition for allegedly being insensitive to former soldiers and failing to implement the one rank one pension scheme.
Banerjee has raised several such issues to take on the Modi government. “We do not agree with the so-called encounter theory. Many unanswered questions arise in the minds of the people,” she tweeted after the government announced it carried out surgical strikes across the line of control.
Banerjee has built a rapport with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, whose erstwhile mentor and social activist Anna Hazare failed to turn up at her rally in the Capital in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
It was with Banerjee that Kejriwal came to Parliament for the first time during the budget session.
“She also keeps in touch with Nitish Kumar and Naveen Patnaik. She has sidelined the Left from any possible non-BJP front and she wants to consolidate her position in the non-BJP political camp,” a Banerjee confidant said.
Banerjee will be at play again when Parliament opens for winter session from November 16.