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An offer she'll refuse

india Updated: May 22, 2012 21:30 IST

Hindustan Times
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We all know that the mercurial Mamata Banerjee is more than happy to trip up the government at the slightest provocation. But even she must be flummoxed by the extraordinary offer from former BJP president Rajnath Singh. As soon as the West Bengal state BJP released a booklet rating the Trinamool Congress's performance as worthy of only 9 on a scale of 100, dear old Rajnath has suggested that the BJP would support Ms Banerjee on her plea for an economic bailout package. But with a very big condition attached. She must withdraw support from the government. Yes, the very same government from whom she hopes to wangle the package.

We know that Mr Singh's been in the wilderness after his non-performance as president and the party's poor showing in UP. And it is quite within reason that he wants to let us know that he is very much on the scene. But he seems to have surpassed himself with this suggestion. Yes, long ago and far away the Trinamool did join the NDA. But a resurgent Ms Banerjee in the NDA camp may be more trouble than Mr Singh can deal with. For a start, she is likely to tear a strip off him for rating her government so badly. On a good day, she may even accuse him of being a Maoist or a dyed-in-the-wool CPI(M) activist masquerading as a saffron saviour.

In the disciplined ranks of the BJP, someone who flies off the handle so easily may prove to be difficult to handle. The curious fact is how Mr Singh could make this offer when the BJP leadership has not uttered a squeak. Since his support is not likely to get Ms Banerjee the battalions to slay various demons, it is an offer that she can refuse.