So we know that Anna Hazare and Mamata Banerjee’s brief political courtship has come to a screeching halt. If the joining hands of these two leaders were dramatic, the eventual fallout was nothing short of anti- climax. Didi, much to her dismay, found a near deserted Ramleela Maidan with veteran social activist bailing out on her last moment. The joint rally was hurriedly wrapped up with Mamata giving call for ekla chalo (will venture alone). How it will impact the TMC leader’s political ambitions is a matter of speculation which only time can tell. But let us find out the reasons for which didi and Anna combination was always a non-starter.
Firstly, India is not Anna, Anna is not India. It may have been briefly during the heady days of JanLokpal Bill agitation, but he is now merely a shadow of himself. Team Anna is now only Anna and group of motley followers. Hence, he was unable to attract any crowd leading to the scanty footfall. Mamata Banerjee in her zeal to gain national acceptance probably overestimated the strengths of Anna. While Anna wanted to pillion on didi’s popularity, she was hoping for the same. The end result was fiasco.
Secondly, Anna is confused. Who says only teenagers in love are? Betrayed septuagenarians can be equally perplexed. First, he said that he will never join politics; next, he said he will support clean candidates from all parties. Finally, facing political irrelevancy, Anna lent his weight to TMC. But from a maverick leader like Anna, a flip-flop was only a matter of time.
Thirdly, in politics – like in physics – the theory of like poles repelling often holds true. Both these two leaders are known to be personally honest and upright people. But it is widely reported that they also have an authoritarian streak. They are not known to be people who enjoy sharing space with a parallel power centre. Thus an ego clash was probably inevitable. It was hardly likely that two very strong headed personalities can forge up an alliance avoiding bleak future.
Fourthly, Mamata’s political stars are on the ascendant, while Anna is a spent force. Sooner or later, she would have understood the futility of this alliance. Thus Anna probably deserted Mamata, before she can.
Fifthly, didi had vehemently protested against JanLokpal Bill earlier. While both tried to play down that difference, the bogies of that controversy refused to bow down. Many NGOs reached out to Anna questioning the rationality of his actions. In the final calculation, Anna may have been swayed by Didi’s blatant objection to his pet project.
Sixthly, there has been always a shadow of BJP’s interference in Team Anna’s movement. Two of her trusted aides have finally aligned with the saffron outfit. Gen V.K. Singh even met Anna on Wednesday morning, hours before Anna fell “sick”. Did BJP sabotage the start-up even before it took off? The facts strongly indicate towards that.
A section of pundits though believe whatever be the reason, this isn’t actually bad for TMC in the long run. Sure, the hopes of TMC’s national ambition have been jolted for now, but it also gives them a chance to focus on Bengal. People like Deve Gowda or I.K. Gujral were no national leaders. Yet they reached the top office. If TMC can get 30 + seats, in a classic hung parliament, Mamata Banerjee can become a consensus candidate of the third, err…, federal front. But as of now, the fact remains that after the presidential election again Mamata’s goal of “arriving” in the national scene has got an immense jolt. Maybe she would be more careful the next time onward.