The Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government is halfway into its term and battlelines are already being drawn in the heated political space. A strong third front is slowly emerging against the BJP and another major player is West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee. She has assumed a heightened role in the Capital’s political proceedings and remains an important power broker in the near future as well.
Mamata’s role may come into play in the upcoming presidential elections as the party holds considerable seats in parliament with 34 members in Lok Sabha. More importantly for the presidential elections, it holds 12 seats in Rajya Sabha.
Mamata has also emerged as a leader who may possibly lead a front against the BJP and press for prime ministership alongside another prospective candidate Janata Dal (United) chief and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. Though Mamata has insisted on playing a backroom role, she will take on a central position in the fight against the BJP.
Mamata has insisted that BJP has benefited from disunity in the opposition. She has now started attempts to rally together Opposition parties from states and in parliament to lead a united front against BJP. Her Bharat Yatra against the Centre’s demonetisation scheme gives proof of her ambitions of moving out of the confines of state politics.
She has kept up agitation against the BJP from Delhi calling for mass participation and revolt over demands for demonetisation rollback. Inside parliament, TMC leaders have joined with other Opposition members’ fever pitch to take on the ruling party.
Mamata has still kept the option open to ally with the Congress. She is understood to be in touch with Omar Abdullah’s National Conference and the Nationalist Congress Party. She has openly praised AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and shared a stage with him against PM Modi. She may keep the relationship between TMC and AAP alive for the future. Mamata is also understood to be interested in discussing a tie-up with Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti chief Hardik Patel among many others.
The picture is still clearing up. However, it seems the Congress will not be the strongest party in its coalition next term. Mamata may slot in a more powerful position come 2019.
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