What Mamata's opponents should learn from Jayalalithaa episode

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The opposition in West Bengal has lashed out at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after she shared the dais with Prime Minister Narendra Modi a couple of times during the latter's two-day visit to the state. [Jayalalithaa acquitted in DA case]

Mamata's opponents criticising her 'closeness' with PM Modi

The Congress and the Left have started accusing Banerjee and Modi of growing a tacit understanding although the Trinamool Congress and BJP defended the Modi-Mamata 'bonhomie', saying it was for the state's interest that the two leaders came together. [Why Jayalalithaa's acquittal is a blessing for Tamil Nadu]

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Congress & Left want to make inroads into Mamata's minority vote-bank

Both the Congress and the Left might have found a golden opportunity to make dent in Banerjee's minority vote-share by stressing her growing inclination towards the BJP and by reminding the voters the harsh terms in which the TMC supremo had attacked Modi before and after the Lok Sabha election held last year. [After its Plan A failed, BJP goes for Plan B vis-a-vis Mamata]

The Congress also targetted the prime minister, saying the latter completely ignored the Saradha scam issue during his speech in Burnpur and spoke only on the coal scam of the UPA era.

The Left also echoed the same, saying the PM did not raise issues like Saradha, Khagragarh or Pingla blasts and suspected that the two parties were planning to join hands before next year's assembly election.

The state BJP has also faced some uneasy moments for at the local level, the saffron supporters have committed themselves to a strong anti-Mamata mission. But the prime minister's no-clash move left them disappointed and also perhaps slightly embarrassed.

But shouldn't the opponents learn what happened with Jayalalithaa

But the Congress, Left and the state BJP supporters must have a look at what happened with former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa today before they decide on their strategy to corner the TMC chief on issues like Saradha or Khagragarh.

In India, you touch a mass leader at your own peril

Jayalalithaa was convicted by a special court in Bengaluru last September in connection to a disproportionate assets case but the Karnataka High Court decided to acquit the leader and that left her party supporters elated, so much so that many of them even predicted that the AIADMK will win all 234 seats in the next year's election and there will be no opposition left in the state.

Sharadha & Khagragarh won't harm Mamata as long as there is no alternative

Are Mamata Banerjee's critics hearing? In Indian politics, corruption charges do little harm to politicians who have a mass base for their empowerment, especially if they are women or belong to backward communities, generate a sense of indirect empowerment for many on the ground.

Logical accusations against such leaders don't generally work because supporters in this country are not driven by reasoning but blind loyalty to personality cult.

Jayalalithaa episode has almost sealed the fate of her opponents a year ahead in the next poll

In Tamil Nadu, the conviction and subsequent acquittal of Jayalalithaa has in a way made the next year's election quite a predictable one for all the anti-AIADMk forces will now face a doubled-up challenge to fight Jayalalithaa, thanks to the sympathy wave.

In Bengal, too, the same can happen if the opposition attacks Mamata Banerjee too much for they are nowhere near the popularity she yet enjoys in the remote corners of the state. PM Modi knows it very well and hence has decided to opt for a co-operative competition with the Bengal chief minister after his party fell flat in the recent civic elections.

Modi has understood that confrontation with Mamata won't serve any purpose now

Issues like Saradha and Khagragarh will not offer fresh ammunition to the opposition and now 'development' remains the only weapon in a time-consuming struggle against Mamata Banerjee in Bengal.

By speaking on Team India and Bengal's potential to progress, Modi tried to align the BJP's competition with the TMC Bengal-oriented and not Mamata-oriented. This strategy makes sense and the hapless opposition in the state must understand that.

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