When Pranab Mukherjee visits his home state after filing his nomination for the presidential election, will he be calling on Mamata Banerjee? And will he do so at her home or at Writers Building? Even more importantly, will the gesture be sufficient to placate her and regain her support?
The UPA has been working overtime to placate her, publicly snubbing Digvijay Singh for his harsh comments on her. Congress spokesmen have stressed that the TMC remains a valued ally. But Didi remains as miffed as ever. If Pranab could call Prakash Karat in Kerala, and Mehbooba Mufti in Kashmir, why couldn’t he pick up the telephone and call Mamata, complain her confidants. But, they agree, the much anticipated meeting in Calcutta between the two will go a long way to melt the ice.
But Mamata has pushed herself into a corner. After publicly opposing Pranab’s candidature, she had refused to relent even after the UPA declared him its nominee. “The game is not yet over,” she had said and tried to persuade A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to be the sacrificial goat.
She has, however, made it clear that the TMC has no desire to leave the UPA. “If they want us out, they are free to say so,” has been her stand even as she nurses her wounds. Although she shares cordial relations with several NDA leaders, she is unlikely to align with the BJP and back P.A. Sangma. The minority constituency in the state may not take it too kindly if she does, specially with panchayat elections round the corner.
Also aware that many TMC MPs share cordial relations with Pranab, she may have concluded that the TMC would be better off abstaining. For now, the Congress seems to have ignored her debut on Facebook, where in a post she condemned “Machiavellian” machinations behind Pranab’s nomination; and...