The Trinamool Congress (TMC) is clearly rattled by the arrest of Madan Mitra, the transport minister of Mamata Banerjee's government and a front-line leader of the party. The party is feeling so much nervous that it decided to take out a rally supporting Mitra in Kolkata on Saturday.
The arrest of Mitra, more than the arrests of two MPs of the TMC before him in connection to the Saradha chit fund scam, means more for the party supremo and that was evident when Mamata Banerjee spoke on the issue, although off the track, soon after Mitra landed in the CBI's net.
A close aide of Mamata for years, Madan Mitra certainly can expose things more
Mitra is known to be a close aide of Banerjee for years now. He had accompanied the TMC chief even during her days in the Congress and clearly is witness to several key moments in the political life of Banerjee. So when such a person lands in trouble, it is quite natural that Mamata Banerjee will lose her composure unlike in the cases of Kunal Ghosh or Srinjoy Bose who were outsiders in the party.
But Banerjee has a double trouble. It is impossible for the TMC now to defend Mitra whose lifestyle has undergone a sea-change all these years and after his arrest, more questions are bound to be asked on the change of his economic fortunes. But still Banerjee and her lieutenants have to put up a solidarity for Mitra in the public because the latter can cause an even bigger headache for the TMC's leadership by revealing more secrets in case he is handed a harsh deal.
Both backing and alienating Madan Mitra will spell disaster for Mamata
Mamata Banerjee's party is now desperate to back Mitra so that he doesn't drag the party with him while drowning. The chief minister was seen certifying the minister and even declined to accept his resignation letter. She questioned the CBI's jurisdiction and even attacked the judiciary. These of course besides the regular targetting of the BJP.
Honest image at stake
But how much fruitful will this strategy be? Even sources in the TMC have begun expressing doubts about the supremo's desperate strategy now. Is it real or out of fear, many have been asking. For the same chief minister never felt it to express such sympathy for two of her arrested MPs. But it might have been too late for Banerjee now to take up Mitra's fight. The genie is out of the bottle. Even if Mamata Banerjee backs Mitra now, there is a high possibility of the scam leave her image of honesty tainted as well.
Mamata Banerjee's rise as a politician has banked on her image of honesty. Mitra's arrest has put that under considerable threat. It could go all the way to nail her political career and that has what made the leader very apprehensive.