By Arun Srivastava
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah is not willing to provide respite or an escape route to chief minister Mamata Banerjee. Putting West Bengal into Narendra Modi’s kitty is the avowed mission of Shah. He is also aware of the fact his inability to conquer the battle of Kolkata would eclipse the stature of his mentor, which he certainly would not like to see happen.
A feeling has been gaining ground that BJP may have changed tack on its approach to Mamata. But it turns out that more than a change of strategy, it is perhaps the apprehension of a severe counteraction by Mamata may be the reason for BJP’s slow pace for executing the plan. She has already told her cadres to get ready for a .sustained struggle, especially against Modi. She is absolutely clear and nurses no illusion that it is the wish of Modi that runs supreme in the party; Amit Shah has only been a tool to implement his political program and nothing moves without his nod. If the BJP decided to attack TMC leaders and Mamata, the TMC would go whole hog and would not abandon any of its leaders who have cases against them. And Amit Shah’s move to target Mamata at this stage may prove to be counter-productive.
In fact, political commentators are in a state of stupor about what step Mamata would take if the BJP attacks her. There are also two other reasons for going slow; first the somersault of Nitish and the plot, though ill-fated, to defeat Ahmed Patel in the Rajya Sabha election. His defeat would have eclipsed any aura about Sonia Gandhi; so Amit Shah was busy with his task for more than a month. Obviously for him Bengal did not merit immediate priority.
After the mission downsizing Lalu Yadav, the next target on the BJP radar was Mamata Banerjee. But unlike Bihar, the saffron brigade is finding the going somewhat tough In Bengal. In Bihar Nitish Kumar did the ground work. The BJP only had to execute the plan. But in Bengal the challenges are arduous and the leadership has to really work hard to achieve the objective. However, there is one similarity between its Bihar plot and the Bengal design: the focus on corruption. Lalu was an easy catch, but in Bengal the BJP has been targeting Abhishek Banerjee, Mamata’s nephew, and some other senior leaders.
Amit Shah nursed the idea that the mission to downscale Lalu Yadav would receive a wider appreciation and endorsement. But it did not happen. On the contrary, Nitish had to face the flak even from his close friends. Though Nitish losing ground is in the interest of BJP, Amit Shah is not keen to send this message across at this stage. It is too early.
Significantly so far the BJP has not succeeded in finding even the smallest case of corruption committed by Mamata. The CBI and other agencies have furnished enough evidences against others. Though Abhishek had slapped a legal notice on the BJP leaders alleging that they were indulging in character assassination, the saffron leadership is not willing to wilt. Any retreat would not only endanger the party but would also eliminate it from the political scenario of the state. The TMC leaders allege that the CBI has implicated some of them in Sharada scam at the instance of the BJP.
The TMC leaders allege that the BJP has in fact framed some of them in Sharada case with the sole aim of unsetting Mamata. Her recent anti-Modi moves and the decision to completely identify with the opposition, especially the Congress. have turned the Modi government hostile.
But the BJP has so far distanced itself or refused to comment on the TV expose as the allegations are not backed up by hard facts. If these channels were really in possession of evidences, they would have made Mamata’s life hell. The BJP leadership has, however, directed its senior leaders to use RTI to collect information about the TMC leaders. Once it collects all the information, the party is also contemplating to move a public interest litigation to demolish the clean image of Mamata. (IPA Service)