POLITICS

Anti-Demonetisation Protests: Is Mamata Trying To Gain National Prominence?

Congress and CPI-M are accusing her of 'fishing in troubled waters'.

22/11/2016 2:42 PM IST | Updated 22/11/2016 3:21 PM IST
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TMC leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and former J&K CM Omar Abdullah lead a delegation of MPs from opposition parties in a protest march from Parliament to Rashtrapati Bhavan against demonetisation.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been in the forefront of anti-demonetisation protests, vociferously demanding that the government roll back its move to scrap and replace all ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency notes.

Along with her counterpart in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Didi has taken to the streets, marched to the Rashtrapati Bhawan, and addressed a rally against the move last week. She will be back in Delhi today to protest again.

Trinamool Congress MPs have been protesting too, inside and outside the Parliament.

Some see in Mamata's trips to Delhi and in the vehemence of her protests, not just opposition to demonetisation, but also a chance to seize the centrestage in national politics.

As this article in the Indian Express points out, this has been Didi's most prominent foray into the national political scene after TMC performed miserably in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

And, while Didi seeks prominence in the national capital, TMC is campaigning in Tripura for the next Assembly elections, with party leader Mukul Roy is the likely chief ministerial face.

Roy has not been shy in speaking about Didi's ambitions as he campaigned in Agartala last week. Claiming that the Congress, the BJP and the Left parties will meet defeat in Tripura, he said that TMC will form a government there.

The Indian Express quoted him as saying, "The people are fuming over the performance of Modi led government and will teach a lesson to it in the next general elections... Laluji (RJD) and Nitishji (JD-U) may manage to secure 20 to 25 seats, while BJD is likely to win 18 to 20 seats in the next Lok Sabha elections. DMK or AIDMK will secure 39 to 40 seats while Netaji (SP) or Mayawatiji (BSP) may win 25 to 30 seats. It means Trinamool Congress will emerge as the largest party after the 2019 general elections."

Mamata's recent manoeuvres have not gone unnoticed. The Congress and CPI-M have criticised the West Bengal chief minister for trying to gain political mileage out of demonetisation.

"She is trying to fish in troubled waters," Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Abdul Mannan told PTI. "She should stop shedding crocodile tears for those who are affected by the demonetisation. If she is so bothered about the common man, then why is she not taking any steps to get back the money of those people who have been looted in chit fund scams. TMC minister, MP were arrested in Saradha chit fund scam."

According to PTI, CPI-M leader Sujan Chakraborty also hit out at Mamata, saying that her opposition of demonetisation was a desperate attempt to save her own party leaders who were involved in the Saradha and Narada scams.

However, with another rally scheduled today, it doesn't look like Didi is going to back down any time soon. She seems determined to gain political mileage from her protests.

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