Saradha & terror have ended Bengal's isolation in national politics

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The entire episode concerning Mamata Banerjee and her clash with the BJP-led Centre, CBI and media has a deeper implication for West Bengal. The tussle has, in a way, connected an otherwise isolated socio-politics of the state with the rest of the country. The development has naturally left the establishment in Kolkata apprehensive and gradually, rudderless. [Mamata Banerjee herself is enough to destroy the Trinamool Congress, says Amit Shah]

Bengal's socio-politics preferred isolation after Independence

Since Independence, Bengal has viewed the power-holders in New Delhi through eyes of suspicion. It might have its root to the historical ego clashes between Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose that ended in the former's favour.

The political leadership and also the general people of Bengal have perceived the Centre as an institution which hatches conspiracy against the state. Add this to the geographic tragedy caused by the Partition, Bengal was battered economically, adding more to the general sense of fatalism of its leaders and the people. [Mamata, Bangladeshi goons feeling threatened in West Bengal]

Bengal's political isolation has ended

Bengal's post-Congress leaders found it convenient to create an enemy in the Centre for political gains

The subsequent political parties that came to power once the Congress was toppled from power in the state as it was at the Centre started utilising this sentiment for their own political benefit. The rulers of the stater found it convenient to blame the Centre to cover their inability to lift the state from economic misery.

The Left leadership had successfully created a space of its own in Bengal, which was virtually turned into a cesspool from all aspects. There was no economic development and political confrontation with the Centre on ideological grounds became the most important aspect.

The Left's complete grip on the state for decades and the existence of little Opposition meant that West Bengal was well within its comfort limits and didn't need any exposure. What was preached as stability was essentially stagnation and the recipe for implosion was flawlessly nurtured.

Mamata Banerjee was the only big connection that Bengal had with all-India politics when the Left ruled

Mamata Banerjee, during these Left years, was Bengal's only real connection to the political world outside. She was the biggest face of the state outside and parties in power at the Centre always looked for her as a counter-weight to the dominant Left and to boost their poll prospects in Bengal.

Banerjee sacrificed her state's future by unnecessarily challenging Modi

Both the Congress and BJP forged alliance with Banerjee in the past to score some points in Bengal where both were marginal players. In Bengal, while the Congress was an exhausted force, the BJP was yet to start its innings. The hardworking and 'honest' Banerjee was their only hope in Bengal.

Banerjee had all the opportunity to break from the past by integrating Bengal with the 'outer world'

When Banerjee took over, she had the opportunity to break Bengal's self-imposed isolation for she had a closer distance with big parties like the Congress and BJP.

The TMC chief could have planned her innings as the chief minister in a way so that her state gained both politically and financially. But Banerjee, perhaps because she was trained in the same-old paranoia of hating outsiders and felt the significance of vote-bank politics, chose the Left's model, although an outdated one.

But the return of one-party majority at the Centre and Mamata's own obduracy spoilt the chances

But Banerjee saw that within three years of her assuming the office of the chief minister, India's politics underwent a change and returned to the days of one-party majority at the Centre. The leader, who earlier had the blessings of leaders like Rajiv Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, suddenly saw that her electoral significance had reduced by a big margin at the Centre and she took it as a case of personality clash with Modi to the detriment of the people of Bengal. [Always fighting the Left, Mamata wasn't ready for the right]

Modi wanted to make friendship with Mamata but she returned it with hostility

Narendra Modi was seen praising Banerjee's honesty at various rallies ahead of the Lok Sabha election. His message was friendly for the TMC supremo but the latter, because of some fixed notion that Modi means communalism, returned the message with serious hostility.

It was a massive tactical blunder for Banerjee couldn't afford to be on the ideological opposite of the BJP, given her close proximity with that party in the past. The TMC chief might have seen that even the minorities are joining the BJP in places like Birbhum where the ruling party's cadre have unleashed a reign of terror.

Saradha and terror exposed Mamata completely and helped the BJP to take the upper hand

Banerjee tried her best to maintain Bengal as an isolated fiefdom of political supremacy as the previous Left Front government had done but the two big events, namely, the Saradha chit fund scam and the Bangladeshi terror link, dealt a severe blow. While Saradha exposed Banerjee as a politician who 'compromised' with dishonesty, the terror episode also showed that she is an administrator who even compromised with national security.

Once the question on terror links between Bengal and Bangladesh was raised, all the defence that Banerjee tried to put up against a 'communal' BJP was done and dusted. Now, Bengal is no more an isolated state struggling with its own problems. It is a place where the ruler compromises with the entire nation's well-being and hence a matter of national concern.

Bengal's isolation has now ended in national politics and the BJP is happy to have made inroads into Mamata's empire

Banerjee's failure as the ruler has given the BJP every right to interfere in Bengal, both as the leader of the national government and a party seeking to increase its tally in the 2016 election. Bengal's politics now has suddenly become a subject of national media and politicians, rattling the ruling TMC more.

Mamata Banerjee could have played the game much much better. But she continued to make mistakes and could soon find very little space left to turn her fortune around.

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