The plan was to protest against the rising fuel prices. But it succumbed to Mamata Banerjee's sloppy theatrics. If the security personnel had not been alert, the West Bengal Chief Minister could have hurt herself on Thursday. I guess they allowed her to ride the scooter because they had no other option. Look at the video, and you instantly realise that she was struggling in her stunt because she did not know how to perform it.
Didi was trying to score a political point against the BJP with an electric scooter. But her action gave away two crucial facts about the upcoming assembly elections in West Bengal. First, the TMC chief seems unprepared for the big contest, and second, she can take any risk to ride back to power. What is even more surprising that despite her amateurish feat on the streets of Kolkata, executed more out of her obstinancy than anything else, she wants people to reckon it a mark of protest against the Centre.
Nobody knows which way the wind is blowing in the state. But the signs are there to read, which indicate that Mamata Banerjee is on edge, and the BJP is making her political ride difficult.
Before the electioneering kicked off in Bengal, Didi had an army of big political names by her side, now a number of them, from ministers to legislators, have switched over to the BJP. Her long-time colleague and close-aide Dinesh Trivedi is the latest significant figure to quit the TMC.
Deserters are blaming it on Mamata Banerjee's autocratic behaviour and the 10-year misrule in Bengal, but the chief minister is busy name-calling them. She has the choicest terms for both defectors and the opponent. Her speeches mocking the dissenters have turned meme templates recently.
Ain't all in the fray have their roots in Bengal?
Now, the TMC chief has phrased a new slogan to deflect attention from the exodus issue. She has projected herself as Bengal's daughter (Bangla Nijer Meyekei Chaye), calling the BJP outsiders. Hoardings with the new slogan are plastered all across Kolkata.
In fact, Mamata Banerjee has resorted to old political gamesmanship raking up the outsider debate just ahead of polls. The issue has become more of a routine, last-ditch tool for the political parties to counter the Modi wave in assembly elections, but most of the time, it has proved ineffective.
People know that neither Narendra Modi is going to fight the elections in Bengal, nor he is the BJP's chief minister candidate in the state. When the 294 assembly constituencies go to the polls, the political leaders from West Bengal, not outsiders, will be contesting each other. Each one of them will be the daughter, granddaughter, son, or grandson of the soil.
Mamata Banerjee understands the power of a slogan like this to rebuild the connection with the people. But after ruling the state for a decade, she should have sought the votes on her work, not emotions. The chief minister is not a victim of politics to invoke her roots making the matter melodramatic. All said and done, now it's for the people to decide if the TMC government deserves another term.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of India TV. The author can be reached on Twitter @iamomtiwari