When Mamata Banerjee stormed the 2011 West Bengal Assembly elections to become Chief Minister and vanquish the Left after 34 years of rule, she was on top of the world. She was also part of the UPA at the Centre which seemed on course for a win in the 2014 general elections too.
Since then it’s been all downhill for Mamata. Not only has she broken ties with the Congress without getting anything out of it or destabilising the Centre too much, but she continues to be in the news for all the wrong reasons.
A look at some of her flop shows…
1. Lok Sabha Trust Vote: To successfully pass a no trust motion against a government, you need to have more than 272 votes in your favour. While that seems a bit far-fetched as of now since both the SP and BSP seem in no mood for mid-term elections, Mamata went ahead anyway.
While she may have found some comfort even if the vote had been narrowly defeated, she ended up with egg on her face when she couldn’t even muster up the basic 50 MPs to make the motion go forward. It was rejected by the Speaker.
2. Presidential elections: The trust vote was not the first time that Mamata got all her numbers and calculations horribly wrong. She joined hands with Mulayam Singh Yadav to pressurise the Congress against its own candidate, Pranab Mukherjee.
She found herself alone the very next day. First APJ Abdul Kalam refused to enter the fray as she wanted and later Pranab won by a virtual landslide when Mamata had to swallow her pride and back her fellow Bengali politician for the post.
3. Mamata’s Singur moment: Mamata gained a lot of political momentum after she forced the Tatas to pull out of Singur. While the Tatas went ahead and came out with the Nano from Gujarat, West Bengal’s industrial status came under a big cloud.
Her Singur moment came when the Haldia Bulk Terminal pulled out of Haldia port citing unrest and the administration’s inability to protect its employees.
4. Railway Ministry: Before she became CM, Mamata was the Railway Minister in the UPA cabinet. She turned it into a loss-making entity and her tenure was marked by accidents for which she refused to take any kind of blame. She also indulged in outright populism.
When her successor Dinesh Trivedi announced a hike in fares, she sacked him in a move that got her censure from large sections of corporate India.
5. Cartoon controversy: While the Congress government is getting a lot of flak for its use of the dreaded Section 66A of the IT Act, a Jadavpur University professor was assaulted and then arrested. He ended up spending the night in custody. His crime? He forwarded a spoof that showed Mamata in bad light via email!
The professor has since then been released and his arrest been slammed for being totally improper.
6. Walking out of a TV show: Mamata has shown that she is increasingly out of touch with the common people of her state. When she was interacting with a group of students in a TV show in a Town Hall in Kolkata, she was asked an uncomfortable question by a student.
Instead of giving a proper answer or even evading it, Mamata went totally red-faced. She accused the student of being a Maoist, threw down her mike and stormed off the show leaving the entire audience shocked.
That has been her general leadership style, where she refuses to answer questions of any type and refuses to take any blame for anything that has gone wrong.
7. Conspiracy queen: Mamata has also proved to be extremely low on vision and governance and out of touch with reality. When a TV show host asked her to rate her government on a scale of 1 to 10, she answered 11/10!
But her biggest drawback has been to see a conspiracy in each and everything. She either blames the Maoists or the Left or the Congress for all her ills or pretends that everything is hunky dory.
The low point came when she was asked about certain rape cases and she said that they were all “fabricated incidents” and a “conspiracy to spread canards”, even invoking the Left for the same!
She had better get her act together or she will look like a very sorry figure in front of the voters of the Lok Sabha elections in 2014.
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