Kolkata : Keeping in mind her party’s debacle in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections and the upcoming Assembly polls in 2021, West Bengal chief minister,Miss Mamata Banerjee, on Tuesday gave her first reaction Jammu and Kashmir Re-organisation Bill 2019 resulting in the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35, according special status to Jammu & Kashmir. She said that she was not going for the merit of the Bill, but she was opposed to the way the same was passed in the Parliament.
Miss Banerjee said, “I do not want to go for the merit of the Bill, but I have some procedural questions. The Centre could have taken all stakeholders in to consideration and even convened an all-party meeting. Instead of doing that, they tried to bull doze all oppositions and got the Bill passed.”
Without mincing words, Miss Banerjee made her party’s stand of the Bill clear, saying that the Trinamool Congress will strongly oppose the Jammu and Kashmir Re-organisation Bill that proposes to bifurcate the state into two union territories.
She added, “I have heard that former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have been arrested. They are not terrorists. I will appeal to the Centerto release them immediately in the interest of democracy.”
A senior TMC leader, on condition of anonymity, said, “Although the Bill is against the federal unity of the country, but Miss Banerjee was not very vocal about the issue as she is yet to recover from her damage control mode after the recent Lok Sabha debacle.”
It is to be mentioned here that instead of voting against the Bill along with Congress and other Left parties, TMC along with NCP walked out of the Rajya Sabha.
Miss Banerjee, however, said, “Staging a walk out from the Rajya Sabha during voting process does not mean we are tacitly supporting the Bill.”
Mr Sayantan Bose, general secretary of BJP, said, “The BJP has taken a historic move. Miss Banerjeemay choose to oppose the Bill, but this will help reunite all Indians.”
TMC MP and historian, Mr Sugata Bose said, “Our party leader has already expressed our party’s stand on the matter and I stand by it. The way the Bill has been passed without consulting the stakeholders is damaging the federal unity of the country.”
Banerjee softens stand on Modi
It may be mentioned that ever since her party fared badly in the recent Lok Sabha polls, which proved favourable for the BJP in the state, Miss Banerjee has softened her stand on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has since then been cautious before giving any reaction on any policies of the Centre.
In the last one month, she has written at least four letters to the Prime Minister on issues ranging from expediting the process to change the name of West Bengal to ‘Bangla’, the falling significance of NitiAyog, and protesting against the Centre’s disinvestment policy. While her acrimonious attitude towards the Modi government has not seen any sea-change, the letters, sent in the last one month, more than being protesting in tone, were actually appeals to the Narendra Modi to re-consider their demands before taking a final call.
A section of TMC leaders claimed that after Miss Banerjee roped in poll strategist Mr Prahsant Kishore to device her party’s political strategy and agenda for the upcoming state Assembly polls, Miss Banerjee has remained shy of giving any raging reactions regarding any decision taken by the Centre.
Another section of leaders claimed that she has always been vocal about any anti-people decision taken by the Centre and she gives reactions in her own way.
ImankalyanLahiri, a senior political analyst and Professor of International Relations at Jadavpur University, said, “This strategy is a part of the damage control measure taken by the TMC after the Lok Sabha polls. Keeping an eye on the Assembly elections,the chief minister has softened her stand against Modi. The way she has expressed her opinion regarding the Jammu & Kashmir Bill proves that she is not vehemently attacking Modi, while at the same time she has let her mind known on the matter, although with caution. The strategy given by Mr Kishore is good at times as her basic nature should not change while giving any reactions. That may have different repercussions on the minds of people, who are used to seeing her one way and may be that resonates with them.”