In politics, there are are no permanent friends or enemies! This was apparent when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee spoke to CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury to launch a united fight against the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. She also held discussions with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and a host of other opposition leaders on the issue. It was quite obvious that opposition parties will try to corner Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government over the issue. But what is baffling is that, the TMC supremo’s sudden reach out to the CPIM. In her memoir “My Unforgettable Memories”, Mamata Banerjee mentioned that during a Congress rally at the iconic Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata in 1992, she sounded the “death knell” of those in power- Left Front government led by the then Chief Minister Jyoti Basu. But this growing bonhomie is certainly a surprise as the firebrand Banerjee’s entire political career has been based on the opposition of the Left, which had been in power for over three decades until she took charge in 2011. This is the first time that she has stated clearly her willingness to work with the CPI(M). Banerjee also wanted Yechury to be part of the delegation which is scheduled to call on the President this week.
Yechury, who is in Tamil Nadu, told The Indian Express over phone that he too got a call from Mamata. “I told her that we are already protesting against it. We are already fighting in various places. I also told her that I will consult my colleagues, including those from Bengal, and will take a decision on Monday,” he said. Sources in the CPM and other Left parties, however, ruled out a joint protest with the Trinamool Congress. But they were agreeable to floor coordination in Parliament. Almost all these parties have given notices in both houses of Parliament, seeking suspension of business to discuss hardships faced by the people due to the sudden withdrawal of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes, restrictions on withdrawal from banks and lack of cash in ATMs.
Mamata had tweeted “This is not an ego battle. I humbly appeal again to the government at the Centre. Save the common people from more suffering and the country from financial catastrophe by withdrawing this hasty decision. First please put a proper action plan in place, breathing space for people. Today I spoke with several political leaders regarding a joint movement and to meet Rashtrapati together. Let us all fight this together to give relief to common citizens, the poor and stop this financial anarchy.”
Yechury said the demonetisation decision should be kept in abeyance till sufficient money is made available and ATMs are reconfigured to dispense the new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes.
Will the ongoing political game be able to do the unthinkable or it will remain a distant dream? Only time will tell and we will be eager to know the final outcome.