Kolkata: She has had to bear the ordeal of being a non-MLA Chief Minister after steering her TMC to a resounding victory in the Assembly polls early this year. Defeat to her former trusted lieutenant Suvendu Adhikari in the high-octane Nandigram seat, was too bitter a pill to swallow.
And Mamata Banerjee was hurt deep down despite putting up a brave front. And what she needed was a one-sided triumph in her den Bhabanipur to expedite her anti-BJP campaign at the national level or in other words nurture her Prime Ministerial ambitions. And with this victory Banerjee also counters all threats to the CM chair too. As a matter of fact TMC has had comfortable victories in Jangipur and Shamshergunj bypolls too.
The West Bengal CM couldn’t have been happier on a rainy Sunday as she romped home in the Bhabanipur byelection by over 58,000 votes (breaking her 2011 record of 54,213 votes) against her nearest rival Priyanka Tibrewal from the saffron party.
And she is unstoppable in her tirade against the BJP, “Since the elections started in Bengal, Central Govt hatched conspiracies to remove us (from power). I was hurt in my feet so that I don’t contest the polls. I am grateful to the public for voting for us and to ECI for conducting polls within 6 months,” Banerjee was quoted by ANI.
Taking a jibe at the so-called monopoly of the BJP of the non-Bengali plank, she added, “Around 46% of people here (in Bhabanipur) are non-Bengalis. They all have voted for me. People of West Bengal are watching Bhabanipur, which has inspired me.”
Banerjee, thanks to the people of Bhabanipur whom she is indebted to, has garnered the much-needed impetus to embark on a renewed mission to topple the Narendra Modi-led NDA government in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Time and again, Banerjee during her campaign trail, had targetted the BJP dispensation over the latter’s ‘alleged’ failures on several fronts. She even castigated the BJP for prodding central agencies to needle her partymen. For Banerjee, B stands for Bharat and B stands for Bhabanipur. So, the message is clear.
But wait on! Can she bask in the Bhabanipur glory to commemorate her probable ascent as the only alternative to Modi?
No as of now. Her road to 7, Lokmanya Marg would be riddled with roadblocks and the logic can be substantiated. The margin of close to 60,000 may have turned TMC loyalists into a celebratory mood but wasn’t she expected to emerge a winner with a much bigger margin especially on her home turf? Banerjee faces allegations of malpractices instigated by her supporters with the cops staying silent spectators. If her opponents and other frontrunners to helm the Federal Front, lap it up to rile Banerjee over these charges, we shouldn’t be shocked.
Secondly, Banerjee perhaps has displayed a bit of an exaggerated zeal in antagonising the Congress and envisioning an anti-Congress and anti-BJP front. The Congress may be beleagured with rampant factionalism at this point of time, but building a formidable unit without the Grand Old Party against the ‘invincible’ BJP would smack of inanity.
Thirdly, there are too many regional satraps including former Haryana CM Om Prakash Chautala, who are conceiving of strengthening their armoury to take on the BJP. Banerjee has the arduous task of not only instilling unanimity within the stakeholders but also stand out in the crowd as the most potent face against Modi.
Only time will shed light on where she stands on the national ground, but even this purported landslide margin in Bhabanipur may not propel her to the stature of leading a Mamata front against the optimistic Modi army which has all the luxuries of being saddled in a position of power.