Banerjee in her speech lashed out at "monarchy" and "riots", which many observers considered as the Congress and BJP, respectively. But was Banerjee's attack really meant for the BJP as it was for the Congress even as she said that "BJP is not an alternative to the Congress" or "the BJP discriminates between the Hindus and Muslims"?
Practical politics says it was not. Banerjee's Trinamool Congress, which recent opinion polls predicted will do quite well in the next general elections, is working on a strategy which has two plans.
Mamata has two plans: Plan A calls for 'go alone' policy
Plan A speaks for a ‘go-alone' policy. The TMC supremo quit the United Progressive Alliance in September 2012 on questions of the latter's ‘anti-people' policies and it certainly gave her a strong moral base.
Banerjee turned the acute financial crisis of her state into an opportunity to promote a sense of Bengali nationalism and by pulling out of the ruling coalition, she gave a message that the federal units can be assertive vis-a-vis the Centre when it's needed. All this was part of the strategy to contest the Lok Sabha elections alone and lead a third force in case the party comes out with flying colours.
Mamata spoke out against riots at Thursday's rally but didn't specify the year
This strategy is significant also from the viewpoint that West Bengal will go to assembly polls in 2016 and like the chief ministers of Bihar, Odisha and Tamil Nadu, Mamata Banerjee is thoughtful about maintaining the dominance in her own state by following a third way.
On Thursday, Banerjee asked people to help her party win in all 42 seats in West Bengal and also intended to campaign for her party outside the state, which shows how determined she is to make it big in the national polls. Toeing a BJP line at this moment will be less effective for Banerjee in the polls. But even if the TMC wins 42 seats, can it smoothly bring together another 230 seats to lead a non-Congress and non-BJP government? Unlikely.
If Plan A doesn't work, there is always Narendra Modi to fall back on
But there could be a Plan B. If the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) wins between 210-230 seats in the next Lok Sabha poll as a number of surveys have predicted, then the TMC chief is most likely to change her course of action.
If Narendra Modi indeed becomes the prime minister and his party is found winning a healthy number of Muslim votes and the saffron party increases its vote-share in West Bengal, the same TMC will be under pressure to forge an alliance, even if informal with the Modi-led regime.
State governments need Centre's help, so will Mamata
Banerjee will anyhow need the Centre's assistance to help her state progress economically. Dumping the UPA is understandable for it was a crippled government but ignoring a fresh government will be difficult.
Banerjee on Thursday said she won't back those who do riots. Well, after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's much-talked about interview to Arnab Goswami on Monday, the riots of 1984 have been more in news than the 2002 ones. And Banerjee didn't specify the year in her speech.