She knows how to raise the pitch, but has Mamata Banerjee finally lost the plot?
After a no-confidence motion that no one cared to support, now the issue of debating FDI in retail under rule 184 has Mamata’s party in a limbo.
With Mamata being the most vociferous among those opposing FDI in retail, it makes sense if she votes against the government on any motion opposing FDI moved by any party.
But she has made this simple choice a bit difficult for herself by distancing herself from the 184 demand — her reasoning being that is a Left- and BJP-backed thing. In fact, it was to make the demand for 184 look smaller that she had moved the ill-timed no-confidence motion in the first place.
In fact, Mamata has been getting her arithmetic wrong about national politics quite spectacularly for some time now. A few months ago she misread the situation during Pranab Mukherjee’s presidential candidature and in return got a lesson in realpolitik from Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Her obstinacy over a Central financial relief package for the debt-stressed Bengal cost the state the chance to get something extra from the Union government. In fact around the same time, the Congress got closer to the Samajwadi Party and the government cleared around Rs 45,000 crore to Uttar Pradesh as part of Central allocation to schemes.
Her critics also say she showed remarkable lack of vision by spiking the Teesta water-sharing agreement with Bangladesh.
Her party’s latest moves in Parliament are being seen as a part of this series of “blunders”.
In her defence though, Mamata believes that none of this matters when it comes to her voters in Bengal. With nothing to gain from the present political set-up in Delhi, the TMC would be more than happy to have an early general election. Therefore, all Mamata wants is to be able to go to the voters and say that it was she who wanted to bring down the “anti-people government” but that the Left (and others) didn’t help her.
An exclusive right on the “anti-reform” plank in the next elections: that’s her “victory” — even if it is strewn with small defeats.
Avishek is a special correspondent based in Delhi