Lucknow: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's "theatricals" at Delhi and some other places may be an attempt to project herself as the main anti-BJP face and to fill the gap created by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar who has moved closer to the Bhartiya Janata Party at least on the demonetisation issue.
It may be also aimed at enlarging the footprint and emerging as a national leader and not anti-left leader of West Bengal. Her laboured Hindi and opposition to note - ban which has the backing of the majority in the country, however, may be spoilers.
She began her anti-BJP in general and the anti- prime Minister Narendra Modi's campaign in particular in Delhi where she sat in Dharna and marched to Rashtrapati Bhavan to protest against the ban decision. There too she did not get any good response from the people in general. Top leaders of some other parties and President Pranab Mukherjee have not given much importance to her either, The President , in fact, has already come out in the open in support of the move.
The Left front destroyer in west Bengal received favourable response from the Uttar Pradesh government and a good crowd had collected to her protest site in Lucknow which was the second stop to her anti-BJP campaign, but general people's response to her even in this state was not as enthusiastic she would have expected.
A report that the crowd seen at the site here was managed one is another dampener. The report carried by a news channel has quoted two daily wage earners as saying that they were paid Rs 200 each to join the protest. They also claimed that a good many other labourers were also paid at Unnao, a small town close to the state capital, for the same purpose and they have not disappointed the organisers.
The story may be true because she has got open support of the government in the state which, like her, is opposed to demonetisation for its own reason. Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and some senior party leaders were not present at the spot but some other party workers were. The state government, however, is not against the move against the black-money holders but its implementation. Proper advance arrangements were not made and, therefore, people in general have faced hardship.This is what has been the main reason for criticism of the scheme.
The action has already led to a speculation that the ruling Samajwadi Party might form an alliance with her party to defeat the BJP. It is unlikely to happen, going by the declaration of the party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, but if it happens neither will gain. The BJP may be a beneficiary in the final analysis as there will be further division of votes. The RLD and JD(U) have already come together in the state to split votes.
Bihar, which is her third stop, however, was different. Neither was she lauded by state chief minister Nitish Kumar nor was she welcomed by his supporters. Former chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav who was holding a different view too is reported to have changed his stance and veered round Nitish.
As far as Nitish is concerned he has made his stand already known. He is reported to have made it bare too her too. Not only on this issue but also another, identification of benami property and their seizure, Nitish is with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whether she likes it or not.
It does not necessarily mean that he will leave Lalu's company and go back the BJP and re- join its partnership. He is mainly in favour of the scheme because it is an appreciable move and will do the country and its people good in the long run. So, there is no threat to the government in the state at present. But one thing is clear that he is no more as bitter against Modi as he used to be. Where it will lead to should be best left to conjecture.