By Tirthankar Mitra
With the 2024LokSabha elections inching closer, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee elevating party MP Mahua Moitra to the post of organisational district president of Krishna Nagar helped the West Bengal Chief Minister and the Party president reap multiple political dividends. Silencing her critics in the Opposition who were interpreting Banerjee’s absence of the leader’s usual reaction as her being cross with Moitra for asking questions in the Lok Sabha which were against the business interests of the Adani group.
Unlike many leaders, Banerjee had stuck to her guns. Had not the TMC leadership earlier said that it will voice it’s opinion in this matter following the decision of the Ethics Committee. Moitra’s suspension from the parliament has been recommended by the committee. The decision of her elevation in the organisational ladder followed.
It rubbishes all speculation that Moitra’s questions had rubbed her party supremo the wrong way. After all, Gautam Adani, the head honcho of the rapidly upcoming business group has promised huge investments in West Bengal. . Already Adanis are committed to invest in Tajpur port facilities. A senior Adani group member is expected to attend te two day Bengal Business Summit being organized in Kolkata on November 20 and 21.
Even as Banerjee-led TMC seized the opportunity and stormed in, joblessness and dearth of investment continued to be the twin bug bears of the present dispensation. The appearance of Adani group at this juncture with its offer of investment at Tajpur port could not have been more welcome. The opposition Left and the Congress tried to spread the word that Moitra has antagonized Mamata by attacking the Adani who is investing in the state, the TMC leaders explained that the opposition to the Adanis was on the basis of crony capitalism and that was more against the Modi government. As regards, investment, Bengal is seeking investment as per norms in state and if Adanis invest as per that, that will be welcomed.
It did not take Congress and the Left, TMC’s principal political opponents in West Bengal much imagination to stitch out a narrative of Moitra had rubbed her party supremo the wrong way. Her questions were a threat to the proverbial goose Adani that will golden eggs read Tajpur port to begin with.
Hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons, Trinamool Congress MP has left none in any doubt that she is capable of fighting her own battles. Indeed she took on the questions of Ethics Committee of the Parliament in the cash for questions affair and stormed out of the hearing sans much support from the political outfit she represents in the House of the People.
The decision makers in the TMC did not budge from their resolve that they will have their say only after the pronouncements of the Ethics Committee in this matter. Not interpreting this stand as an act of the party leadership distancing herself from her, Moitra on her part had never sulked.
In fact, Mahua Moitra welcomed the leadership’s stand. It is too small a matter in which party supremo Banerjee and her nephew, Abhishek, the de facto second in command in the party should intervene, she said. . However, the political observers noted that TMC supremo used strong words in defending her minister Jyotipriya Mullick who has been arrested by the central agencies in the food rationing case, but she was not that eloquent on Moitra.
With her head for facts and figures together and her background of a senior corporate manager, her skills in advocating an issue in the House had put many a party MPs in the shade. But long before her party supremo spoke in an imprisoned Mullick’s favour and maintained a studied silence in the cash for questions issue, her stocks were thought to have dipped inside the party for some time, but now, it has upped again.
Back to the present, Moitra is sitting pretty. So is her party supremo. The latter giving her nod to Moitra’s elevation in the party ranks have made no secret of her approval of Mahua’s political worth. In doing so, Banerjee made it look the entire Opposition read Congress and CPI(M) are barking up the wrong tree.
Incidentally, the apprehension of Banerjee jettisoning the INDIA alliance and joining hands with BJP-led NDA was first voiced by the CPI(M) leadership. Criticism of Banerjee on an intra-TMC issue by the Left and the Congress is a pointer that despite being INDIA alliance partners with TMC, considerations of local politics comes first to the duo.
Going back to the TMC camp, its supremo is on a high. She has adhered to her words and elevated Mahua in the party hierarchy and in the process signalled to her of watching her steps.
It is likely that Moitra will watch her steps and pull her punches henceforth if the old adage once bitten twice shy is anything to go by. Her supremo too ought to be happy that oil has been poured on troubled waters that could have swept away the investment prospects of the Adani group in the state on the eve of Bengal Global Business Summit. (IPA Service)