Even before the much-hyped protest against the Modi government’s demonetisation move could take off, cracks have surfaced within the Opposition with the Left going all out to prevent Trinamul supremo Mamata Banerjee from emerging as a key stretegist and the face unifying anti-BJP forces.
While the Opposition is gearing up for the protest march across the nation on November 28, the Left parties have called for a 12-hour Bengal bandh on the same day — a move that is being vehemently opposed by Ms Banerjee.
Cracks have also surfaced within the Grand Alliance. Bihar chief minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar described demonetisation as a “brave move”.
However, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress, which are part of the Grand Alliance in Bihar, have been strongly opposing the move right from the onset.
Congress, at the national level, is virtually leading the charge against demonetisation.
The Samajwadi Party has also been a striking discordant note with regard to their position on demonetisation. On one hand Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Agarwal launched a scathing attack against the move on the floor of the House, on the other hand party general secretary Amar Singh not only called it a “bold move” but also claimed that “he as a countryman was proud to have such Prime Minister who was so dedicated and adamant to root out corruption.” Further, only on Friday UP chief minister and SP leader Akhilesh Yadav cautioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that he would have to “pay for troubling the poor of the country”. Mr Singh’s sudden praise for the PM’s move is being viewed as a move to mend fences with the BJP since he is presently being hounded by a majority of the top leaders in the party including Akhilesh Yadav. When asked whether he was considering joining another party, Mr Singh told the media that he was “very disturbed”. “I will take a final decision after talking to Mr Mulayam Singh,” he said.
The Biju Janata Dal has adopted an “ekla chalo” (go alone) approach and did not join the Opposition parties’ march to meet President Pranab Mukherjee on November 14. Congress leaders in Bhubaneswar have alleged that BJD was trying to strike a deal with the BJP. Odisha state Congress president Prasad Harichandan on Saturday went to the extent of saying, “BJP president Amit Shah’s soft stance on the state chief minister Naveen Patnaik comes after the recent meeting between Mr Patanaik and Mr Modi that followed his unconditional support to the Centre’s demonetisation move. BJP and BJD are brothers in arms.”
Reacting to the 12-hour bandh called by the Left, a furious Ms Banerjee tweeted: In Delhi at the meeting of Opposition parties, a bandh was never discussed or agreed to. We do not support any bandh called. People are suffering so I appeal to all to help citizens and stand by them at this hour of crisis.”