KOLKATA: While the country may await for December to end so that they can ring in the new year in style, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has a different reason to wait.
She is waiting for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s deadline to end so that she can launch her scathing attacks on him against demonetisation. Modi has promised that normalcy would return 50 days following the scrapping of old `500 and `1,000 currency notes. Good Governance Day, celebrated on December 25, will also mark the 47th day of demonetisation.
The Trinamool Congress supremo is waiting for Modi’s deadline to get over following which her attacks on him are likely to sharpen. She has already planned a state-wide protest campaign called ‘Modi hatao desh bachao’ starting January 1.
In the 47 days since demonetisation, the crusader against the move left no opportunity to hit salvos at Delhi. She did not spare the Centre, the Army, CRPF or Income Tax department.
Mamata’s all-out attack has invited ridicule and scorns of the ruling party, even sexist remarks by BJP President Amit Shah during a rally in Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh. But given the street-fighter she is, barbs did not bother Mamata. She kept protesting against the demonetisation move at press and public meets by making statements about the problems faced by the common man every day.
However, the people of her state are well divided over the move, with a large section of people—even her ardent supporters—secretly or openly agreeing that the move would be beneficial in the long run. But how? They exactly don’t know.
Politically vibrant Bengal has a knack to discuss contemporary issues. Demonetisation that has affected their lives has been the topic ruling every gathering in the past one-and-half months. However, as the situation caused by demonetisation improved, people began hushed conversations about the chief minister’s silence over the hitherto unknown phenomenon of communal riots.
Many now feel that her gaze should now shift from Delhi to her home-turf, and instead of opposing the central forces such as Army and CRPF, who have always been at the forefront to tackle communal tensions in the state, Mamata should find ways to ensure better law and order situation with proper mechanism in place to deal with the emerging communal dynamics or else allow the emerging BJP to reap dividends over the polarisation.