Centre’s CBI vs Didi’s dharna: Why Mamata’s street fight can’t be taken lightly?

West Bengal has been in a state of tumult and turmoil since Sunday evening, when a CBI team reached Kolkata to investigate the city’s top cop in connection with Saradha scam and Rose valley chit fund scams.

Written by Mukesh Ranjan February 5, 2019 18:08

West Bengal has been in a state of tumult and turmoil since Sunday evening, after a 40-member CBI team reached Kolkata police commissioner Rajee Kumar’s residence to investigate him in connection with Saradha scam and Rose valley chit fund scams.

A virtual showdown broke out between the CBI team and Kolkata police and led to high-voltage drama. Soon after, a rare and unseen spectacle unfolded. CBI officials were detained, bundled up in a car and taken to a police station.

The CBI move triggered a wave of loud protests, not just from TMC workers but party chief Mamata Banerjee herself. Fuming Mamata launched a vitriolic attack on the Centre as well as the top BJP leadership, for ‘unleashing’ the CBI on state machinery for political gains.

Ever since, Didi has been sitting on dharna on the street to protest against the ‘autocratic handling’ of country’s premier agency by BJP  govt to harass its opponents like TMC, Akhilesh-led SP and Mayawati-led BSP.

Didi’s street politics a warning for rivals?

Mamata is no stranger to street politics. In fact, she is the one who popularised this term with her vociferous protest/dharna in Singur. The impact of this dharna was so huge that the Left government was dislodged out of power after ruling the state for 34 years.

The Bengal CM taking to dharna/street politics, just ahead of Lok Sabha elections, may spell trouble for the BJP.

Mamata has described the CBI action as a coup against West Bengal government and started dharna to ‘save the constitution’.

“I am ready to give my life,” she said, “but I will not compromise.”

Bad optics but good politics

With CBI knocking at Kolkata police commissioner’s door for questioning in the chit fund scam, the stage is set for political slugfest. Attack and counter-attack is already on, with TMC and Centre engaging in verbal spat.

Opposition parties have already thrown in their weight behind Mamata while the latter gets more vehement about its vociferous attack on Centre.

Not just Mamata but other anti-BJP parties have also accused Centre of gross ‘misuse of CBI’. Akhilesh, Mayawati along with Rahul Gandhi trained guns on the Modi government, alleging that it is destroying the democratic fabric of the country by force.

Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal CM, United India rally, Congress

Moreover, Mamata’s war-cry at a recent United Opposition rally – ‘Delhi mein sarkar badal do’ is fresh in memory. In less than a month, her direct confrontation with the Centre puts her at top in the Opposition and makes her the ‘first among equals’.

Mamata, known for her tenacity and unyielding attitude, has already taken centrestage and with no sign of conciliation, the issue is set to escalate further. If things fall in place, she may emerge as the face of Opposition directly taking on Narendra Modi in the upcoming LS elections.

Ponzi scheme probe: How big is the scam?

The matter which spawned series of political blamegame is serious as gullible investors numbering in lakhs have been duped and hoodwinked by chit fund operators.

Not just in Bengal, many people in North East states including Odisha and Bihar have also been robbed off their hard-earned money to fraudsters masquerading as entrepreneurs.

These fraudsters have deep connect with politicians and leaders. A couple of Mamata’s ministers have also been named in the Ponzi schemes and are being probed for their alleged links.

The scale of chit fund operation is so huge that even the Supreme Court took note of it and brought in CBI to investigate the Ponzi scheme in West Bengal and other states, with total illegal racket being estimated to be around Rs 1 lakh crore.