Eighteen and counting. Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of Bengal, has received the support of these many leaders, tweeted her top aide Derek O’ Brien this morning along with a list that featured Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati, Arvind Kejriwal and Tejashwi Yadav. Ahead of the national election, Mamata Banerjee’s “satyagraha” against the centre has added one more layer to the BJP vs opposition battle.
“All of us together,” posted the Trinamool Congress leader, thanking all the leaders.
All of us together Thank u @H_D_Devegowda@RahulGandhi Behen MayawatiJi@mkstalin@yadavakhilesh@ncbn@ArvindKejriwal@Pawarspeaks@laluprasadrjd@OmarAbdullah@MehboobaMufti
— Derek O’Brien | (@derekobrienmp) February 4, 2019
Leaders like Arvind Kejriwal, the chief of the Aam Aadmi Party, may even travel to Kolkata to join her in the protest. However, many in the BJP pointed at the innate contradictions in the show of unity and scoffed at suggestions that this could be a rallying point for the opposition ahead of the general election.
Hours after Congress president Rahul Gandhi said he stood “shoulder-to-shoulder” with Mamata Banerjee in her fight against the central government for sending CBI officers to question her police chief Rajeev Kumar, his party’s top leader in Bengal, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, voiced the opposite.
“This is a scam in which many people were duped and the investigation is being done after the Supreme Court order. After Bengal government’s order the police stopped CBI. I have not seen such thing. So there is a constitutional crisis in Bengal and the central government must come forward to stop this constitutional crisis,’ said Mr Chowdhury, a Congress lawmaker and former state Congress chief.
Not long ago, Mr Chowdhury’s party president shared his views. In 2016, while campaigning for the Bengal elections, Rahul Gandhi had targeted Mamata Banerjee over the very cases at the heart of her clash with the centre. “Mamataji had promised to wipe out corruption in the state. But when corruption took place in front of her, she took no action,” said Rahul Gandhi, then Congress number two, referring to the Saradha scam.
Similarly, the Congress is not in the Akhilesh Yadav-Mayawati club in Uttar Pradesh, even though they all have pledged their support to Mamata Banerjee.
The Left, caught between its role as an opposition bloc and its intrinsic conflict with Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, attacked both the BJP and the West Bengal Chief Minister. “This drama in Kolkata by the BJP and TMC (Trinamool) is not a fight for any principle but only to save their corrupt and hide their corruption. CPI(M) has fought both these undemocratic, corrupt, communal and dictatorial regimes in the centre and the state and will continue to do so,” tweeted CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury.
Most of the opposition parties who have come out in Mamata Banerjee’s support were seen at her unity show in Kolkata a few weeks ago.
Two prominent players who did not attend that mega opposition meet, Odisha Chief Minister Navin Patnaik and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, have remained silent in the current controversy. Those close to them say they look at it as a local issue and prefer to stay equidistant from the BJP and the Congress.