Mithun Chakraborty, immediately after he joined the BJP, delivered quite a stellar dialogue from the stage. The dialogue roughly translates to ‘I am a Cobra. One bite is enough to turn you into history.’ But for Mamata Banerjee, it’s not Mithun the Cobra that she needs to concern herself with. It’s those within her own party that she needs to really worry about.
Prashant Kishor cast a devastating blow to the West Bengal Chief Minister’s reelection bid on Friday night when he appeared for a conversation with ‘journalists’ regarding the elections. During the discussion, the political strategist delivered one hammer blow after another to the aspirations of Mamata Banerjee seemingly unaware of the implications of his comments.
But that is hard to believe. Unlike the ‘journalists’ who were present, Prashant Kishor is a smart man. One does not rise to the summit of the profession he is in without hard work and genuine ability. It is entirely possible that his abilities are vastly exaggerated or that the success of it majorly depends on the capabilities of the politicians themselves but it has to be admitted that it does require a fair degree of intelligence to succeed as a political strategist.
In his position, Kishor had to be aware that the comments he made would reach wider sections of social media. As a premier political strategist, every comment of his, especially made to journalists, would be considered news worthy. Why is it then that he made comments that would impact Mamata Banerjee so adversely? Kishor all but admitted that the BJP was winning the Assembly Elections with only three phases of voting completed until then.
Not merely that, the political strategist even revealed details of the internal surveys that were conducted, which we now know indicate a BJP victory. Is it really believable that Prashant Kishor was not aware that his comments would become a major talking point in the election cycle? That would reflect remarkable incompetence on his part as a political strategist. Or are his comments attributable to a ‘brain fade’ accelerated by the collective IQ of the Clubhouse room which was well below average? We cannot say for sure but all things considered, his conduct is extremely suspicious.
But Kishor is not the only one whose conduct has been suspect in recent times. Mahua Moitra is an elected representative to the Lok Sabha from the Trinamool Congress who has scored multiple self goals during the election cycle. Again in her case as well, her comments could be attributed to the fact that she is the Sanjay Raut of West Bengal politics. But the fact that Mamata Banerjee has been either unwilling or incapable of reining her in explains the predicament Trinamool Congress finds itself in.
During the height of a polarized political campaign, Mahua Moitra decided it was smart to call Brahmins ‘Chotiwala Rakshasas’ while defending Rohingyas. It beggars belief that it did not once cross her mind that tweeting such a thing was a bad idea before she hit the final ‘tweet’ button on her phone. While Mamata Banerjee is busy chanting the Chandi Paath in her rallies, here we have a Lok Sabha MP proudly hurting Hindu sentiments.
Then we have Madan Mitra, the Trinamool candidate from the Kamarhati Assembly Constituency. Madan Mitra is a meme on the internet and a wilder version of Sanjay Raut. While election campaigns were underway, he appeared on news debates demonstrating precisely why Hindus would be reluctant to vote for him. In a now famous Zee 24 Ghanta debate with BJP MP Arjun Singh, Madan Mitra declared that he intended to move the Court to have the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan banned.
All of this is an indication towards the fact that either Mamata Banerjee has lost control of her own party or there is a deliberate attempt to sabotage her leadership within the Trinamool Congress. Of late, she has suffered a series of setbacks with a host of major leaders quitting the party, the most prominent among them being Suvendu Adhikari. The same Adhikari has likely robbed her of Nandigram if the political winds are anything to go by.
Were circumstances within her party deliberately arranged in such a manner that prominent leaders such as Adhikari were sidelined to strengthen the hold of certain leaders? Was Mamata Banerjee deliberately misled about the importance of these leaders within the party? Was the series of resignations a consequence of a power grab that has succeeded? Such questions would continue to plague the incumbent Chief Minister for a long time into the future.
The statements by Kishor during the Clubhouse discussion defy logic. There have been complaints by local Trinamool leaders that Kishor is responsible for the divide within the party. Will her decision to introduce a ‘Bohiragoto’ (outsider) into West Bengal politics, using her own terms here, eventually cost her the Chief Minister’s chair? Would she have been better off without extending a hand of friendship to Kishor?
These are questions that are surely bothering Mamata Banerjee even as we speak. But there could be a lot more than meets the eye. Former Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP Dinesh Trivedi, now a member of the BJP, lashed out at Prashant Kishor and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee following his resignation.
Dinesh Trivedi said, “It’s been a 12 year struggle before we got power. And during the time of this struggle, we formed this party. I was very much the founder and we struggled for those 12 years. I remember we used to struggle for 5000-7000 rupees. And now you have hundreds of crores to give to a consultant. And you say that my party is poor. Those both things don’t gel. The party which you formed with some ideology is now being outsourced. It is virtually being hijacked and the leadership and you yourself and the party have gone somewhere else. So, the soul of the party is not there.”
“If you go by an important person who otherwise runs the party- Mr. Kishor, he had tweeted that BJP will struggle to cross double digits. So at the moment, as per the party, they are actually on the upswing. And I have taken maybe a bold or senseless decision that I have left the party when the party is in the upswing. But God forbid for that party, if they lose and then I left, it would have been opportunism,” he stated further.
The Rajya Sabha MP also specifically expressed his unhappiness for the party being managed by Abhishek Banerjee and Prashant Kishor. Under such circumstances, Mamata Banerjee could come to rue the fact that she lost control of the party while serving as the Chief Minister of West Bengal and did not take remedial measures to rectify her mistakes. And now, it is far too late.