Mercifully these three powerful politicians did not have to depend on the women’s reservations bill getting bipartisan support in the parliament to fight their political battles.
BY HUMRA QURAISHI
The discourse leading to the all important battle for the Lok Sabha is getting vicious with each passing day. The opposition parties are angry with the ruling dispensation accusing them of it of vendetta politics & being bad losers. The almost concurrent spate of raids & questioning by various law enforcing agencies like the ED, IT & CBI on the most potent challengers to Modi’s rule have received wide spread criticism by almost every political party. It is no coincidence then that most of those whom BJP thinks of its close adversaries like Priyanka, Mamta, Maya or Akhilesh; they have been constantly hounded & kept busy with proving their innocence on decades old cases. But far from surrendering tamely, the accused are mounting a spirited defence of their position & leading the pack is the terrific trio of Maya, Mamata & Priyanka. Each has her own personal prestige & battle to win.
Yes, it is getting clearer that Priyanka Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee and Bahen (sister) Mayawati will make a major difference to the political scenario in the country. In fact, soon after seeing scenes of the Priyanka Gandhi’s road show in Lucknow and the connect she held out with the masses of Uttar Pradesh, it got rather obvious that people are keen for a change; wanting to get rid of the right Wing, getting back to the Congress fold. Of course, there could be arguments that years of Congress rule at the Centre didn’t drag along any of the visible positives, but to that I would say that during the Congress regime there wasn’t any trace of the suffocating cum stifling atmosphere that hits us today, each single day. All those maar – kaat – dhaar lynching and killing sessions that have spread out from the summer of 2014 ,as the Right-Wing came centre stage, are proving to be too much to cope with …the masses can’t cope with the horrifying communal violence spreading out.
It is getting obvious that the Indian National Congress is being looked upon as a saviour, more so with Priyanka Gandhi around. Yes, there is something about her personality that holds out, she connects with the masses. She doesn’t have to give any of the long or short speeches; it’s just that warm spontaneous smile and few sentences which become adequate enough to connect.
In fact, Priyanka’s formal entry into the political scenario heralds hope for hundreds of political activists and cadres of the Congress party. Her connect with the masses could pave way for the much needed revival of the Congress party in the Uttar Pradesh.
And if one were to focus on Mamata Banerjee, her hold on West Bengal is getting stronger by the day. In fact, in the recently launched book on her- ‘Didi – The Untold Mamata Banerjee’(Penguin) author Shutapa Paul focuses on the political graph of Mamata Banerjee. Writ large is Mamata’s determination to be a political fighter. Also, her firm resolve to remaining secular, trying her utmost to halt any of the divisive tactics of the Hindutva brigades. Yes, she comes across as a formidable force. Not to be bullied by any of the Right Wing tactics. To quote from this book –“Two years since her second conquest in 2016, today, Mamata is sure she that she has a new adversary. The growing influence of the BJP in the state has been bothering her .The national party has conquered almost the entire north –east and it greedily eyes states such as Bengal. Didi knows that the next election will not be a cakewalk. However she is not new to enemies. She has fought formidable political adversaries all her life. West Bengal’s only woman chief minister and for that matter the state’s sole woman politician of repute, toppled thirty –four years of Left Front rule in 2011, and brought an entire regime to its knees – an unthinkable feat a few years ago. And now, in 2019, Mamata could well play the kingmaker. This book details, in an uncomplicated way, why chances are strong of her going strong! “Mamata knows that winning West Bengal was only a battle; she must prepare for war if she wants to retain power. The general elections of 2019 can see her play kingmaker, she is aware. She is the only regional leader who can claim to have that kind of clout. Jayalalithaa is no more and Nitish Kumar has changed over to the NDA. 2018 also witnessed the demise of another pedagogue of Dravidian politics, K. Karunanidhi. With the Congress showing signs of resurgence, and regional parties agreeing to forge a Federal Front, Mamata is more than aware that if she gets her electoral mathematics right, she could play a decisive role in the next Lok Sabha polls.”
And it would be politically naïve on our part if we bypass the significance of Mayawati in the political scenario of the day. After her party, the BSP’s alliance with Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, its she who is calling the shots. Not to over-look the fact that she has a hold not just on the Dalit groups but also on the Muslim strongholds. Her supporters do not miss an opportunity citing that during her tenure as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh the State witnessed fewer incidents of communal clashes and communal riots…Also, she was one of the first political leaders of the day who had spoken out rather loud and clear that she does not trust the EVMs and wanted the ballot paper back!
Mayawati holds out strong amongst the Dalit and minority communities because of the fact she has been consistent with her criticism of the Right Wing. She has been a strong critic of the RSS- BJP and has been forewarning us that disasters would further compound if the RSS holds sway.
In fact, the more I am delving into the political graph of Mayawati, more factors hold out, signalling that she could play a significant role in the years ahead.