22 June, 2021

Why Street Fighter Mamata Banerjee Can't Sleep Peacefully Any More

BJP's increasing vote share and clinching 18 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal is a warning Mamata Banerjee can't ignore for long. BJP's Mission Bengal will test Trinamool Congress in the July 2020 Municipal elections and then the 2021 Assembly polls

Photo-Imaging by Leela
Why Street Fighter Mamata Banerjee Can't Sleep Peacefully Any More

Mamata Banerjee is that classic cusp figure in Indian politics. She answers perfectly to the description of a ‘regional’ leader, but has always threatened to take on a national profile. Before the elections, she even fashioned herself as a prospective prime minister, the fulcrum of an anti-BJP front. Despite her arrantly provincial bearing—very Bengali in her persona and in the politics—she has a national brand recall. When her state government faces a crisis, as is happening now, she makes headlines not just in Calcutta, but in Delhi and Bangalore too. She cut her teeth in politics in the rough and tumble of Youth Congress, as the quintessential street-fighter—four decades later, that still defines her. After her rise in parliamentary politics in 1984, she did what was thought inconceivable—vanquishing the powerful Left in its very fastness, crafting a street credo that cracked both high-minded Communist theory and its often cynical practice on the ground. But now she is engaged in a mother of all battles, and it’s coming from the...

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