Supreme Court might have handed Mamata Banerjee a setback, however face-off a win-win proposition for TMC, BJP


There’s a bigger political recreation that performs out distant from summons, petitions, evaluate petitions or court docket judgments. Often the narrative for this recreation is thus far faraway from actuality that it’s virtually contradictory, however it issues little as long as the narrative serves the larger political goal. Tuesday’s developments, for example, present a take a look at case.

The Supreme Court has directed Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar, who beforehand ignored a number of CBI summons and even went “missing” — inflicting West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to apologise earlier than the Election Commission — to look earlier than the CBI. The central investigative company moved the apex court docket in opposition to the “non-cooperation” of Mamata authorities after Bengal police briefly arrested CBI officers who visited Kumar’s residence in Kolkata to query him on Sunday. Footage and photos emerged of CBI officers being coerced and dragged into police jeeps by cops. There was clear try on a part of the state administration to dam the CBI from doing its job and impede investigation into the multi-crore chit fund scams.

File picture of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI

The three-judge bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna requested Kolkata’s high police officer to “co-operate” with the CBI probe into the Saradha rip-off and in addition issued a discover to West Bengal chief secretary, the DGP, and Kumar within the contempt of court docket software filed by the CBI. Along with this, the highest court docket restrained the company from taking any “coercive steps” resembling arresting Kumar and dominated that CBI interrogation of Kolkata’s high cop should be accomplished at Shillong in Meghalaya, a “neutral venue”.

The final level is extra important than it seems. The CBI has complained of threats and intimidation whereas finishing up its probe into the multi-crore chit fund scams in West Bengal. The residence ministry acquired a report from the CBI detailing how the officers confronted harassment and obstruction whereas doing their job of probing the rip-off underneath instructions from the apex court docket.

The CBI was, due to this fact, eager to query the Kolkata police chief in Delhi, whereas the West Bengal authorities wished it to be held by itself turf in Kolkata. The court docket selected Shillong, and the CJI reportedly said “go to Shillong. It is a cool place. Both sides will remain cool there.” It is tough to interpret this improvement every other approach than concluding that the court docket order is a setback for the West Bengal chief minister, who rushed to her favorite cop’s residence late on Sunday evening and sat on an “indefinite dharna” to “protest” in opposition to CBI’s transfer to query him.

And but, Mamata has claimed “moral victory”, “a victory of the people”, and mentioned she was “grateful” to the Supreme Court. She additional claimed that her case was “strong from the very beginning”. Her response, delivered from the ‘dharna’ stage in Kolkata, drew rapturous applause from assorted TMC ministers, members and cadres.

The spin in Mamata’s assertion would make even Shane Warne or Anil Kumble blush, however the level is that so long as the TMC supremo succeeds in convincing her cadres and even the citizens that she, certainly, has emerged “victorious” from the face-off, her goal is met. One is perhaps inclined to time period the chief minister’s stance as “delusional”, however that might a misreading of the way in which politics performs on the bottom. Mamata, as the next set of tweets suggests, was pressured to shift her goalposts following the Supreme Court order however it could be mistaken to think about that this obvious “setback” in court docket would lead to a political setback for the Bengal chief minister.

The complete fracas, executed to perfection by the West Bengal chief minister, might as a substitute deliver political dividend. There’s a caveat, nevertheless. Mamata might have calculated that her victimhood card and avenue politics will reinforce her cult standing within the state, whereas virulent protestations of “Super Emergency”, “destruction of democracy”, “damage to India’s federal structure and institutions” and wild prices in opposition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah will draw nationwide consideration and catapult her onto the massive stage the place she is competing with different bold chieftains for the prime minister’s chair.

However, in her zeal to create a constitutional disaster and harvest political achieve, Mamata inadvertently did the BJP a favour in Bengal. The saffron unit lacks in organisational power and is devoid of a neighborhood chief with mass help. For these structural shortcomings, it has not been capable of fairly fill the Opposition area that also lies vacant. Its affect is rising in pockets, however thus far BJP’s rising footprint has come totally at CPM’s expense with Congress holding on to its nominal however core vote share.

The BJP has — regardless of a mighty push from the social gathering’s central management that has focused at the very least 23 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats on provide — been unable but to make a dent in TMC’s strongholds regardless of an undercurrent of public opinion in opposition to Mamata’s Tughlaki methods. To the saffron unit’s benefit, it has little to lose at this level.

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By indulging in melodrama and theatrical statements, Mamata additional polarised the citizens in West Bengal, giving BJP a mighty push in direction of rising because the chief Opposition and shoving the CPM additional into oblivion. Pictures of BJP social gathering workplace being vandalised allegedly by TMC staff, posters of Modi resembling Hitler, cries of ‘Modi bharat chodo’ by TMC cadres, Mamata’s fiery statements in opposition to the prime minister might assist elevate BJP’s profile among the many swing voters sad with Mamata.

Conversely, blaming Modi and Shah for “misusing CBI” and speeding to defend a police officer who’s underneath scanner in reference to the investigations into the Saradha and Rose Valley ponzi schemes that defrauded tens of millions of poor in West Bengal of their hard-earned cash, Mamata has seemingly obstructed a hypermoral act. The energy this act — of a high cop evading CBI and later sharing a political stage with Mamata — can by no means be underestimated. It might sharply divide opinions and the BJP, which begins off a low base, has extra to achieve.

On the larger stage of nationwide politics, Mamata might have secured for herself some limelight. Her high-octane adversarial place in opposition to BJP locations her squarely on high of the amorphous group jostling for area and a focus. It is instructive to notice that Congress chief Rahul Gandhi didn’t share Mamata’s ‘dharna’ stage past posting a tweet. Some Opposition leaders prolonged their help to Mamata, however her transfer to hinder the CBI from going after suspects locations her and the Opposition leaders at an obstacle.

It offers Modi the possibility to create a ‘chowkidar vs corrupt’ narrative and help the prime minister’s makes an attempt in forging a presidential marketing campaign. BJP will go to city that Modi alone stands for corruption-free regime and the others — as Arun Jaitley put in his Tuesday’s weblog — The Kleptocrat’s Club.

So Mamata’s histrionics may help her in her state and even in her ambition for the highest submit, however it’s not essentially an obstacle for the BJP. Both events “win”.

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