Updated on: Thursday, July 29, 2021, 12:40 AM IST


West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee | PTI Photo

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee | PTI Photo


West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee began her 5-day visit to New Delhi with a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday. And she greeted the PM with a bouquet of yellow flowers. Symbolically, yellow is a colour associated with the sun. It symbolizes optimism, energy, joy, happiness and friendship. It might also stand for intellect.

However, at the end of the meeting, she said It was a “courtesy visit”. She also told reporters she managed to meet the PM after seeking time thrice since her stupendous victory in the May 2 Assembly election.

Mamata’s victory was historic given the margin and the difference in the ballot count received by TMC and BJP despite the fact that BJP had put in its entire might and had flown in top leaders to Bengal on a daily basis to campaign. Following her win, Mamata emerged as the tallest Opposition leader of the country (at least currently), and hence had shown keen interest in forming a joint opposition force to counter the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

But on Wednesday she stunned all by remaining non-committal when asked if she would be the face of the Opposition to take on the ruling BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha poll.

“I am not a political astrologer. It depends on the situation, structure. I have no problem if someone else leads. When the matter is discussed we can decide. I cannot impose,” Banerjee told reporters amid several signals of increasing Opposition unity.

On the leadership issue, she said: “I want to help all the opposition parties to bell the cat. I don’t want to be a leader, but a simple cadre.”

This she said hours before she met Sonia Gandhi at the latter’s residence.

Why did she say this after the much hype over her position and winnability index? Was it a ploy not to upset the Congress supremo and thereby also not create a stir in other Opposition-ruled states in the country right away?

Does she want a more democratic approach towards “selecting” an Opposition leadership?

It must be recounted Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Tuesday said party President Uddhav Thackeray has potential to become the Prime Minister and lead the country. “The country needs a moderate, strong nationalist, pro-Hindu leader like Uddhav Thackeray,” he said on the the CM’s 61st birthday.

Placing confidence in Thackeray over leading the country, Raut said, “He is leading the state. I have known him for the last 45 years. Many consider Uddhav Thackeray as their brother and son. It is his success that every citizen feels that the Chief Minister is like the head of their family. His leadership will last for a long time.”

Was her close defeat in Nandigram to her once upon a time close associate Suvendu Adhikari a matter which made her step on the brakes?

It may also be recalled if Mamata does not win a bypoll within November... it will be a constitutional crisis for the TMC supremo. And, in the acute Covid situation, will the election commission go for the poll now?

The post-poll violence issue also a sub-judice matter is a huge concern for her.

Steering clear of all these issues, Mamata may be playing safe and may be wanting an amicable situation wherein she should not be looked upon as an imposing leader.

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Published on: Thursday, July 29, 2021, 12:40 AM IST