Ever wonder how Trinamool and its chief try to forge consensus by ostensibly putting together all parties? Krishi and Shilpo (agriculture and industry), Maoists and common people, Suvaprasanno and Kabir Suman? Initially it appeared to be an honest approach to embrace the real dialectic in the polity. As time goes by, we begin to see the other side.
Let me start by saying that theTrinamool chief has changed her strategy post 2007. Earlier whatever she did, she did with a single-minded zeal. Now, her single mindedness has shrunk to dislodging the Left, and given the manner her party is gnawing at the party machinery of another anti-Left force, Congress, it seems that staying at the Writer's for at least 10 years is the only thing that she looks at. In short, she has narrowed her goal and taken any position on other issues to achieve the goal.
That's why Trinamool has had so many disparate bedfellows, from extreme Left to the extreme Right. That's why her favorite Suvaprasanno's favorite line used to be, "Mamata shob miliye debey." (Mamata will make East and West meet. Sorry, that's a rather free translation.) While this shows tactical brilliance, such heterogenity in ideology does not speak well of the political vision of a party. Most enemies of Congress would agree that it retains its appeal because of its ability to address Indians at both ends of the prosperity spectrum (not 2G apparently). Vajpayee still remains BJP's most popular face because of his inclusiveness. And before Buddhadeb Bhattacharya's gaffe of "Ora and Amra" (Them and Us), Left used to be quite heterdox socially (barring the Capitalists of course). Left's lack of comfort with capital seemed to change with Bhattacharya, but, nowhere in all the three political parties did we have such huge contradictions plastered over with facile soundbites.
Ask the Trinamool chief if Maoists are a problem, and she'd start with a disclaimer that she doesn't know about Maoists. Quickly, next, she'd say that Marxists are Maoists and are responsible for the Gyaneshwari train wreck. However, she'd end by saying that Maoists are common people and she'd welcome if they gave up violence. What exactly is your point, dear?
I am not saying that Maoists should be killed OR welcomed into the Writer's, but, for sanity's sake, let's agree that they exist and that they do not always agree to the law of the land. We might show compassion, try to understand their motivation, and call for an armistice. But how on earth will one formulate any state policy if anybody doesn't know what they are and what they want. The Left have their policy with the Maoists and I'd have liked to see more scope of investment in infrastructure in that policy. Well, there is a scope for improvement. Congress has a broad consensus as well. How will Trinamool manage to engage with Maoists if they believe that the Left are the Maoists?
This absurdity of perception invades other policymaking as well. Mumbai aspires to be Shanghai, another Third World city that has acquired First World infrastructure and status. What does Mamata Banerjee's Calcutta aspire to be? London. Well yes, London, the capital of an erstwhile global empire. Do you here the L-word since Trinamool came in power? I guess we we all know the answer.
I do not doubt the capability of certain individuals in Trinamool, Subrata Mukherjee for instance. He managed the KMC pretty well during his term. But the policymaking body in Trinamool, which unfortunately is the body of an individual, is willfully opaque on key issues for an expedient alliance against the Left. Such opacity doesn't speak for governance or democratic responsibility. Congress, even at the cost of losing votes, sticks to stationing the joint forces in Maoist-dominated areas. Trinamool can learn something about democratic responsibility from them.
Trinamool succeeds because of anti-Left feelings among people. It doesn't have too many positive things about it, and not many reasons that it can defend itself with. That's why, when accused of anything, they would inevitably point fingers at Left and mention the 34-year-old rule. If a party has to point at another party's mistakes to justify its own programme, can you call it a party of governance? Or, would you call it a vacillating beauty balancing on pogo sticks in the fond hope that people would love its antics on stage and would cheer when it crashes into the dens of power?