Is Mamata Banerjee losing her support base?

Written by: Vicky Nanjappa
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Did Mamata Banerjee come back with a stern message from Delhi? The manner in which she and her party colleagues in the Trinamool Congress have reacted to the various investigations that are being conducted into the scams has taken everyone by surprise.

Prior to her Delhi visit, the TMC leaders were breathing fire and the arrest of Madan Mitra had particularly not gone down too well with them. However one sees a change in the manner in which the TMC is approaching issue now and a major agitation against the arrest of Mitra suddenly fizzled out ever since Mamata returned to West Bengal from Delhi.


What was the message?

It was clear that Mamta had visited Delhi with a purpose. The nosse was tighetening and from Saradha to Burdhwan, investigators have been piecing together a lot of evidence which accuses several leaders of the TMC of being part of it.

Mamata had been watching her party colleagues going to jail one by one. However she was most shaken up by the arrest of Madan Mitra and this meant that the CBI was closing in on the big wigs of the party.

Her visit to Delhi had a purpose, sources say. It was to discuss with some leaders in Delhi and also complain against the CBI probe and the alleged targeting of her party by the centre.

However, she was told in clear terms that the behaviour by party colleagues before Parliament and also on the streets was sending a very wrong signal. It appeared as though she was blocking a probe that aimed at resolving issues such as corruption and national security.

She was also told that the CBI plans to approach the Supreme Court of India and complain that they were not being allowed to investigate in West Bengal. The Supreme Court could take a very serious view of the matter and pass strictures against her government which would have caused further embarrassment.

Protest withdrawn:

The manner in which the protest or the sit in by the TMC leaders in West Bengal faded out is quite interesting. The Maidan protest was suddenly withdrawn after the general secretary of the party Partha Chatterjee made a formal announcement.

The TMC had planned a daily sit down of 7 hours to protest the arrest of Mitra. However once Mamta returned, Chatterjee was quick to reach the venue and call off the protest. He told a crowd that could be counted on ones' finger that they do not want to restrict the protest to one place, but wanted it to be a state wide issue. Hence we will plan soon similar sit downs in the districts as well.

Lack of support:

What the TMC realized is that this protest was not getting enough support. The people of West Bengal are clearly disgusted with all that is taking place in the state. They say that states such as Odisha also face similar problems in the form of the same scam, but there is not a word from the leaders who permit a fair probe into the matter.

The people also point out that there is more dignity in accepting the mistake or at least let the investigators do their job. There is always a court to take a final call. By protesting and not letting parliament function, the people suffer. The issues pertaining to the problems of West Bengal are not being taken up thanks to the administration coming to a standstill. Instead they have chosen to cover up their mistakes and in the bargain the people are suffering.

Vanishing crowds:

Two rallies that were held in support of Madan Mitra hardly saw any crowd. A December 13 and 15 rally had a very poor showing which also made the TMC realize that the people had enough. The people are not viewing this matter lightly anymore and the public perception is that the TMC is trying to cover up its mistakes.

At the sit down there were very few people. When Chatterjee made the announcement that the agitation was being withdrawn there was a sigh of relief and the people left without looking back even for a second.

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