By Sushil Kutty
This most chaotic of democracies deserves kudos for the mobility of politicians – for the ‘aya ram’, and the ‘gaya ram’ joining this party and deserting that party. At the national level this has opened avenues for the likes of Prashant Kishor to think of stitching a coalition to evict Modi-Shah from Central Vista. The only thing to worry then is who will be Prime Minister, Mamata Banerjee or Sharad Pawar? Rahul Gandhi is ruled out of reckoning.
The other day political wedding-planner Prashant Kishor had lunch with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar. Mamata Banerjee told media in Kolkata that it was she who had sent Prashant Kishor to talk to Pawar. The Prashant-Pawar power-lunch was to discuss the recipe for a political kichadi.
That said, will Mamata yield to Pawar in case a coalition gets majority in the Lok Sabha, or will it be the other way round? The Opposition’s Achilles Heel has always been naked ambition. All the regional satraps, even Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK head MK Stalin – in whose state a certain ‘Mamata Banerjee’ married ‘Socialism’ – want to be Prime Minister.
Political analysts, including journalist-powerbrokers in the guise of anchors and columnists, want to see the back of Hindu-nationalists Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. They see “this time, right now” as the moment!
So what’s happening? Brahmin Jitin Prasada quitting the Congress did not enthuse as much as Mukul Roy’s ‘See Ya’ to Modi & Shah. In the euphoria of the moment, diverse people are having a collective ‘1996 redux’, when a coalition of political parties had taken charge of India’s destiny.
Quite unexpectedly, today, there’s the whiff of a plausible possibility to rid Delhi of Gujarat. A set of journalists sees promise in the premise. They have been discussing it on satyahindi.com, an online portal dedicated to see Narendra Modi’s back in 2024.
The only concern though is that the Congress is not in a position to make a difference. At least two of the journalists expect to snag a Congress ticket in 2024. One, a nomination to the Rajya Sabha, if the Congress returns to power. This scribe wants the process to unseat Modi to start right away, without any further delay.
Naming the Prime Minister can come later, just before the elections or just after the elections, but get the coalition together now, today! ‘Who all should be in the coalition?’ Skirting that question seems to be endemic to all involved. Nobody wants to take a guess. Mamata Banerjee included.
That’s because the Congress, the elephant in the room, leaves them in doubt. For the Congress, whether Mamata Banerjee won West Bengal or not doesn’t matter because the Congress is not a one-state wonder. Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Rajasthan are all Congress states.
Besides, there’s Tamil Nadu, and the Congress is also powerful in Kerala as also in states where it’s the principal opposition. Even if the Trinamool Congress gets all the 48 seats in West Bengal, which it cannot, the Congress will likely have more Lok Sabha seats. Also, Rahul Gandhi will not agree to play second fiddle to Mamata.
The West Bengal Chief Minister is riding a wave of aggressive politics, thanks to Trinamool’s tremendous showing in West Bengal and the ‘ghar wapasi’ of Mukul Roy. The BJP is like ‘hey it’s nothing, you know?’ This, when there’s a plethora of reports that more of the TMC in BJP will head back to prostrate in Mamata’s durbar.
Definitely, the BJP is made up of a depressed lot. More erosion from BJP to TMC will decimate the BJP in West Bengal. And there’s nothing that Modi and Shah can do to discourage the Trinamool in its bastion. Before long the BJP will be a pale shadow in Bengal, which will impact its chances in 2024.
Narendra Modi and the BJP, and the RSS, have woken up to that challenge. Covid 2:0 and West Bengal have together weakened Narendra Modi’s position and status, in India and abroad, but so long as the Congress lags, the Opposition will not be able to take advantage. Mamata Banerjee and Prashant Kishor and Sharad Pawar should worry about what Modi is cooking to their kichadi. The Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut is trying to convey something, and it’s not in Marathi alone that he’s telling it! (IPA Service)