West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Benerjee seems to be forced to backtrack from her Prime Ministerial ambitions during her two day visit to national capital New Delhi early this week. Till recently she have been giving clear indications that she is ready to lead the nation by making all regional parties join hands with her in the form of `federal front’ and insisting that Congress shouldplay a supportive role only.
But surprisingly, during her Delhi visit she putforward a new proposal that for the present, all opposition parties should get ready for 2019 polls, with out a face of Prime Minister candidate. Her meetings with opposition leaders in Delhi, it has become clear that for the opposition, ouster of the Narendra Modi Government is more important than deciding the face of their prime ministerial candidate in 2019 Lok Sabha election.
She declared that “There will be a collective leadership to take on BJP in the coming Lok Sabha polls in 2019.” IT makes back-pedalling about her prime ministerial ambitions significant, by which she sets the baseline for Opposition unity. She seems to be feared that if she insists others to accept her as PM face, she is bound to be `isolated’ among opposition parties.
All opposition parties have now understood that if they keep raising the issue of the prime ministerial face efforts to from a larger opposition alliance will go in vain and it will affect electoral prospect of all opposition parties till 2024. As no leader among opposition is to match with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s national appeal and aggressive campaigning tactics, opposition fears their case will be diluted if any one is put against Modi.
Mamata is mainly fearing stiff competiton from BSP supremo Mayawathi in this regard, as she is having more tie-ups with regional parties. Moreover, Being a Dalit and four-time Chief Minister of the biggest state of the country, Mayawati’s party has already staked its claim for the top post. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s warm meeting and visible camaraderie with Mayawati at the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, has also tilted the discourse towards her.
The tactic silence of Congress on Prime Minsterial candidate by indicating that it is ready to support a women for this top post, Mayawati or Mamata Benarjee, also said to be forced Mamata to take a back seat. She is aware that Congress is liekly to get more seats than any other party in the opposition camp, hence it will be a natural claimant for the top post. On the otherhand, as a pan-India leader, Rahul Gandhi’s image is stronger than any other leader.