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Method In The Madness

Swapan Dasgupta in the Deccan Chronicle:

It wasn’t merely the opprobrium attached to being part of a regime that was burdened by both economic mismanagement and corruption that moved Mamata. What may have clinched her final decision was the unease in the state’s large Muslim population over the belief that the Congress government in Assam shared the blame for the attacks on Muslim “immigrants” in Kokrajhar.

The extent to which the events in Assam and coloured reports of an ethnic cleansing in Burma have contributed to Muslim anger all over India has been insufficiently noticed. It is still too early to be sure what political form these stirrings will take but Mamata has moved with great speed to ensure that the Muslim sullenness against the Congress does not rub off on her. By using both a regional and populist plank to justify her revolt against the Congress, she may have ensured that the 27 per cent minority votebank remains attached to her, but without any corresponding risk of playing the “Muslim card” overtly. Observers of Bihar politics may find strong traces of Mamata’s approach in some of the recent moves of Nitish Kumar.

Many commentators mistook the 60 hours gap between the announcement of her withdrawal and the formal resignation of her ministers at the Centre as evidence that she was amenable to some last minute persuasion. The symbolic significance of using the day of Friday prayers to mark her go-it-alone strategy was not adequately understood.

Read on at the Deccan Chronicle: Burden of survival

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