Contradictions !
   Date :18-May-2024

By Vijay Phanshikar
Tamluk (WB), 
A day after announcing that she would extend outside support to the Opposition front I.N.D.I.A. after it comes to power, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said, she was very much part of the anti-BJP alliance at the national level and would continue to be in it. While addressing an election rally in Tamluk, Banerjee said that the Trina Mool Congress was not in alliance with the CPI(M) and Congress in West Bengal, but “at all India level, some people have misunderstood my statement yesterday. I am very much part of the I.N.D.I. Alliance -- which was my brainchild. We are together at the national level ...”
SUCH flip-flops have been an integral part of the Opposition grouping, right from start when different parties came together to form the I.N.D.I. Alliance. Though they decided that their main goal was to unseat Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, they had their personal angularities against one another and found it difficult truly to forge a united front. They had their different regional goals. Each of them also had personal aspiration to be the Opposition’s Prime Ministerial face. In that league, Ms. Mamata Banerjee was on the forefront -- with maximum hang-ups and narrow choices to work within. So, she wanted no truck with CPI(M) and Congress in West Bengal, but did not mind being part of the I.N.D.I.A. grouping (which she claimed to be her brainchild). Even in the Lok Sabha elections, she campaigned as ruthlessly against CPI(M) and Congress as she did against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Such contradictions ! But then, even as the Lok Sabha election has completed its four phases, contradictions still continue to haunt I.N.D.I.A. grouping -- in almost all States, in almost every constituency. None appears ready to accommodate others. No appears willing to work for a common goal. And as everybody realised the actual situation, they all came together to state that the Prime Ministerial candidate would be decided after poll results were out.
Yet, some dream merchants among the Opposition ranks and intellectual circles have been insisting that the I.N.D.I. Alliance has a good chance of winning the elections. This is actually nothing but a false propaganda, but many in the Opposition camp have begun believing in it. Possibly, Ms. Mamata Banerjee is also one of such leaders. Hence her latest U-turn. Hence her latest lipa-poti somehow to remain in the grouping no matter the damage she might have caused to it in the election in her State. By now, this situation has become fully public. The common people -- the voters with no personalised political affiliations -- realise that the Opposition has nothing defined in its agenda, but is fighting against a well-organised Bharatiya Janata Party in particular and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in general where everything is fully coordinated and defined well in advance. It is only natural that the common voters are going to get magnetised to the BJP-led NDA. Yet, the Opposition dream merchants are very active in spreading a (fake) narrative that the BJP is losing. This is being done in a mad hope that such a propagandism would impact the remaining phases of elections favourably for the Opposition. This is, of course, a massive ignorance of how the common people think. There may be some doubts about the BJP’s slogan Ab Ki Baar 400 Paar. But there is no doubt about the winning of the BJP-led NDA.
Margin of victory may be different from the BJP’s projection, but victory has never been in doubt. Yet, the Opposition is living in its own paradise -- whose proof came from Ms. Mamata Banerjee’s U-turn. With the so-called possibility of Opposition victory looking large on the horizon, she does not want to be left out. Hence her hasty correction, her near-apologetic non-explanation ! There is another angle, too, to her turn-around. Credible projections are being made about her party not faring too well in the Lok Sabha elections. Pollsters are declaring that the BJP may emerge as the biggest political party from West Bengal in the next Lok Sabha. One has reasons to suspect that Ms. Mamata Banerjee may be treating these projections as realistic and may be adjusting her position for the post-June 4 scenario. Hence her attempt to cosy up with the rest of the I.N.D.I.A. leadership for future accommodation. It is obvious that the Opposition leaders are still treating elections as an exercise of electoral arithmetics, not in the least considering the possibility of it being a game of leader-voter chemistry. It is in this area that Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has fared far better than all the Opposition leaders put together -- not just currently, but also in 2014 and 2019. What surprises common voter is the massive ignorance of the Opposition leaders about the electoral game -- no matter the fact that all of them are veterans of many battles.