West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s role as a national leader is gaining momentum day by day. Ever since she took over the CM’s chair for the second successive term, she has already made two visits to Delhi in successive weeks. These visits include marching to the Rashtrapati Bhawan against demonetisation, where she gained some political support from ideologically-different-from-each-other parties like the Shiv Sena, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and former CM of J&K Omar Abdullah of National Conference. Delhi CM and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP ) chief Arvind Kejriwal to came out in Mamata’s support. BJP got a jolt when its ally in Maharashtra Shiv Sena joined Mamata’s march.
In her second visit she staged a joint dharna with her Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal outside the RBI last Thursday. Looking to really make the NDA government pay for the demonetisation decision and cement the gains, she came back to Delhi today and this time with another planned sit-in at Jantar Mantar as the cash crisis deepens. Didi’s vociferous stance against demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes is her most determined incursion into national politics, ever since Trinamool Congress failed to make any impact during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections outside West Bengal. During the 2014 election, TMC’s candidates lost most seats outside West Bengal.
One can draw impression from this move that an opposition despite ideological differences has united. Instances were seen when Mamata made a statement on November 13, saying she was ready to work hand-in-hand with TMC’s age-old political rivals CPI(M) to counter the Modi government. On the other hand national parties like Congress and CPI(M) have decided to raise the issue in Parliament first, rather than joining the march with Didi. Also, soon after her press conference on the latest sit-in, the BJP, Congress and the CPM took digs at her over the ‘Saradha scam’ in West Bengal.
So, though a strong unified front against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is yet to appear, the moves are afoot to achieve it. And demonetisation may well be the glue that holds all these disparate parties, with varying interetss, together. But most of all, for Mamata, this may well be the biggest chance she will ever get to boost her national ambitions.