KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is in a dilemma over whether to attend Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony at the Rastrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Monday.
After the BJP’s historic win and the TMC failing to emerge as the third largest party in the general elections, Mamata decided to boycott the swearing-in ceremony as the war of words between her and Modi during the campaigning had taken a personal turn.
However, many senior TMC leaders felt that the West Bengal government would have to work in tandem with the Centre in the future and that it is better to avoid a confrontation at the very beginning of the new BJP government.
A senior TMC leader said on Thursday: “Our state government has a huge burden of debt left by the former CPM-led government. We have to rely on the funds from the Centre and deal with the new BJP government on a regular basis.”
“Under such circumstances, it is better to maintain a cordial relationship with the Centre and try to obtain a special financial package for the state. BJP president Rajnath Singh, during his poll campaign here, had assured of such a package. It will be good if we get such a package to rejuvenate the state’s economy,” he pointed out.
She was the only non-Congress Chief Minister who neither wished Modi his historic win, which she had done in 2002 when Modi was re-elected as Gujarat CM. She felt that it would send a wrong message to the state’s minority communities, which comprise 30 per cent of the electorate.
She had been successful in consolidating her position among the Muslims, majority of whom voted for her party, and manage to win 34 out of a total of 42 seats garnering 39 pc of the votes.
However, many TMC leaders felt that with the BJP getting 17 per cent votes in the state, it was time to “stop pandering only the minority communities at the cost of majority voters which might boomerang and help the BJP”. A veteran TMC minister said: “What happened during poll campaign was natural. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik too had attacked Modi. But once he is set to be the Prime Minister, they cosied up to him.”