Mamata Meets Modi: Financial Demands or a Deeper Motive?
Mamata Banerjee did not attend the opposition parties meeting called by Sonia Gandhi but the Modi–Mamata private meeting in Kolkata provided extra fuel.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday landed in Kolkata amidst protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR). Not a political identity, a spontaneous impulse led to rallies in various parts of the city. From young to old, everyone flocked to join the protests across the city.
On one hand, when Modi came to Calcutta and was meeting Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the Raj Bhavan, Kolkata was seeking independence from the NRC, CAA & NPR. Mamata was the first to write a letter to all top opposition leaders, including Sonia Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, and proposed a united protest against the CAA–NRC–NPR. After that, Congress President Sonia Gandhi called for a meeting on Monday. Both the CPI (M) and the Congress in the state, however, have strongly criticized Mamata’s decision not to attend the meeting in Delhi.
Mamata Banerjee was quizzed since the time she decided to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kolkata without going to Delhi’s opposition meeting. After the Modi–Mamata meeting on Saturday, speculation grew further. Parties like CPI (M), Congress & BJP in the state have intensified their attack against Didi. Even Mamata had to hear ‘go back’ from the protesters.
Before and after meeting the Prime Minister, Mamata, however, meant that she did so only to fulfil her ‘constitutional’ duty as a chief minister. She further claimed that she sought money from the centre, which is owed to the state. She also spoke against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), demanding that the legislation be repealed.
Why did Mamata suddenly cancel the opposition meeting in Delhi demands to repeal the CAA, NRC & NPR, though she was the first to make a stand?
The exact answer is difficult to provide or even comprehend at the moment. Mamata has publicly raised her finger to explain the cause behind her move towards the left and the congress, citing the unrest done by them in the city.
In the wake of a serious national problem such as the CAA protest movement, Mamata’s clarification on cancelling opposition meet raising some of the scattered turmoil has been debated in the political realm. Even political analysts are not dismissing having a ‘deeper’ reason behind her actions—one of the fears of activating central investigative agencies.
According to some, Mamata could have expressed her displeasure to the CPI (M) and the Congress leadership in the presence of other opposition leaders at the meeting on 13 January called by Congress President Sonia Gandhi. But, boycotting the meeting gave another dimension, which is against the united protest of the opposition. After that, the Modi–Mamata private meeting in Kolkata provided extra fuel.
When Mamata first started the movement against the CAA, NRC and NPR; she must have thought of minority vote-banks, because the new rules of citizenship have increased the concerns of the minority: the Muslims. But she left the national stage of the movement and sat in a private meeting with Modi. Will the vote bank remain intact? It is natural that the opposition parties like the Left and the Congress will try to break the minority vote. And if Mamata has to share the minority vote bank, then it will be impossible to benefit in the end.
It can be assumed that there is a greater reason for Mamata’s meeting with Modi. What could that be?
Opposition leaders have raised the question. BJP leaders called Mamata an ‘opportunistic politician’, and said she did so to save her party leaders from the clutches of the CBI, which is investigating the multi-crore chit fund scam in Bengal. CPI (M) leaders slammed Didi by asking, why didn’t the finance minister and the officers go along with her to ask for money in the meeting? Congress leaders lashed out at Mamata for boycotting the meeting and urged all the opposition parties to be united against the CAA and NRC.