Mamata Banerjee is back to the streets over the citizenship law. Here is her plan
A cautious Mamata Banerjee, a veteran of many political battles, eyes the CAA and NRC protests to woo back the middle-class, educated vote bank.
Streets are the preferred way in West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s brand of politics. Be it the Singur agitation on the national highway or sitting in a dharna in solidarity with Kolkata top cop Rajeev Kumar when CBI tried to catch the latter over a chit fund scam case, Banerjee has always found it suitable to hit the streets to protest.
This time too, there’s no exception. The West Bengal Chief Minister has already led two major protest march - one each in south and north Kolkata and has told her audience that National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) would be implemented in West Bengal only over her dead body. Her aides say that she will organise more such protest programmes in the near future.
Also, for Banerjee, who walks nearly 10km daily (the terrace of the state secretariat is one of her favourite places to walk) to keep herself fighting fit, any protest march naturally fits the bill for all practical purposes.
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The twin marches, however, is sharply focused for as many purposes. One, it will further consolidate the minority voters in favour of Trinamool. And two, to try and mop up the support of the liberal, educated Bengali bhadralok (including the students) who are upset with the idea of CAA.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Trinamool Congress was the second largest Opposition party with 34 seats. But after five years, they were reduced to 22 seats and the BJP tally jumped from just two to 18 in the state, thanks to the largescale shift of the traditional Left vote to the BJP.
A cautious Banerjee, a veteran of many political battles, eyes the CAA and NRC protests to woo back the middle-class, educated vote bank that shifted from red to saffron in the last Lok Sabha polls. With the Trinamool at the forefront of the anti-CAA and NRC protests in Bengal, and the Congress and the Left offering pale shadows of their past, Banerjee wants to emerge as the only choice for anti-BJP voters.
The Trinamool can also hope that the emotive issue of CAA-NRC will distract the people’s attention from the many charges of corruption against lower-ranking party leaders.
With Bengal assembly elections scheduled to be held in less than two years, Banerjee will desperately cling to the CAA-NRC issue also to lure the students, a strong and vocal vote bank towards her party.
In her last rally, she posed a direct question to the audience: “Do you trust me?” It is the trust factor of being the only force capable of stopping the BJP’s march in Bengal that Banerjee is relying on to seal another five years in power.
To ensure this, Banerjee has found the right combo: NRC and CAA.