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Didi’s March To Dilli: Mamata Banerjee Eyes Bigger Pie Through Opposition Unity

Didi’s March To Dilli: Mamata Banerjee Eyes Bigger Pie Through Opposition Unity

The rally was as much the story of Mamata’s own personal ambitions as it was about the Opposition’s show of unity.

Rise And Shine Photograph by Sandipan Chatterjee

Winter haze hung over the iconic Brigade parade ground in the heart of Calcutta. A cutout of Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee towered over a sea of supporters.  And the bold letters in Bengali on the cutout proclaimed the collective wish of a bevy of political leaders gathered for the ground-breaking event: “Chalo paltai, ebar amra Dilli chai (Let’s bring in change, we want Delhi this time).”

On January 19, Mamata achieved what many thought was impossible till a few weeks ago—barring Odhisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD), she brought together virtually every major opposition party on one platform to launch what could be one of the biggest political conglomerations in India in rece­­nt times. The major takeaway from the gathering was that the TMC boss managed to cobble toge­ther a cohesive and viable alternative to the BJP with a single agenda to oust the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo. It was a rare show of unity among a group of parties which would otherwise be bickering; the common refrain was about burying political and ideological differences and together taking on the Modi-Shah duopoly. Speaker after speaker highlighted the “pain” caused to the common people by demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax (GST). They spoke about the Modi government’s poor record in job creation and a growing agrarian distress. And they made references to the Rafale deal, peppering their speeches with questions on Modi’s integrity.

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