September 25, 2022

Mamata Banerjee's Discoveries

MAMTA Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal, has been making some new discoveries recently. First, she stated in a press conference that RSS was not that bad." Following this, she has made another discovery - she does not believe prime minster Narendra Modi is behind the misuse of central agencies such as the CBI and the enforcement directorate. Speaking in the legislative assembly, she said "You are possibly not aware that these agencies are no longer under the prime minister's office (PMO). They are now controlled by the union home ministry". How she has come to the conclusion that the CBI is no more under the prime minister's office is unknown, because officially the CBI is under the department of personnel and training under the PMO. She has, thus, exonerated the prime minister by misstating the fact.

These placatory statements have come after a concrete political step taken by the TMC leader to help the BJP during the vice-presidential election. When the opposition decided to put up common candidate for the vice-presidential election, the TMC decided to abstain. The lame excuse given was that they were not properly consulted. That the BJP's candidate was the then governor of West Bengal, Jagdeep Dhankar, made this decision to abstain highly unusual. Why did Mamata Banerjee decide not to support an opposition candidate against a man who had tormented her and her government for a full three years is something even her supporters cannot explain.

The sudden softness for the RSS and the prime minister probably stems from the serious predicament that Mamata Banerjee and the TMC government find themselves in. The Partha Chattterjee affair which exposed the sordid corruption in the government has caused widespread revulsion and anger among the public. What has been long suspected or known has now come out starkly before the people. More skeletons are tumbling out of the TMC cupboard. Mamata Banerjee feels imperiled by the ongoing ED investigations into the coal mining scam in which her nephew and political heir, Abhishek Banerjee and his family members, are being interrogated.

Finding virtue in the RSS and in Narendra Modi signals desperation on the part of the TMC supremo to somehow salvage the corrupt-criminal syndicate the TMC has become. However, such dalliance with the Sangh-BJP combine should not come as a surprise. The rise of the Trinamool Congress as an anti-Communist force in West Bengal is a record punctuated by alliances with the BJP including Mamata Banerjee’s being a cabinet minister in the Vajpayee government.

The recent pronouncements of Mamata Banerjee must be an embarrassment for a number of people, including some on the Left, who saw her as a doughty anti-fascist fighter. But the CPI(M) and the Left Front had no such illusions. They are leading the burgeoning mass protests demanding punishment for all those guilty of massive corruption and an end to the criminal-corrupt nexus.   


(September 21, 2022)