On 21/7/2022 as the counting of votes in Presidential election was going on TMC announced it will not support Opposition candidate Margaret Alva in Vice Presidential election. It will abstain. TMC’s general secretary Abhishek Banerjee said the process of choosing her was not right. There was no proper consultation. BJP VP candidate Jagdeep Dhankar as Governor of West Bengal had troubled TMC Government a lot. TMC not voting against him was strange.
Congress and CPI (M) hit back at TMC. Congress state president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said TMC and BJP are two sides of the same coin. CPI (M)’s Mohammed Salim said “Some prominent TMC leaders’ names were not included when CBI filed a chargesheet in the coal scam investigation recently. We are paying the price now with Vice Presidential election.”
There is talk of deal between TMC and BJP. On 13/7/2022 Mamata Banerjee, Jagdeep Dhankar and Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma had met at Raj Bhavan in Darjeeling. It was a surprise as the relationship between Mamata Banerjee and Jagdeep Dhankar was acrimonious. The speculation was that Sarma had come to seek TMC’s support for BJP Presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu.
Then came the twist. On 16/7/2022 BJP President Jagat Prakash Nadda announced Jagdeep Dhankar as BJP’s VP candidate. On 17/7/2022 17 opposition parties decided on Margaret Alva as their candidate. TMC did not participate in the meeting but the impression was that it will support whoever is chosen. So the decision of TMC not to support Margaret Alva and oppose Jagdeep Dhankar came as a surprise.
Mamata Banerjee had upstaged Sonia Gandhi in selection of Opposition’s Presidential candidate. Yashwant Sinha was her choice. However, a few days after BJP chose Murmu, her tone changed. She did not want Sinha to come to Calcutta. She said if BJP had mentioned Murmu’s name beforehand the contest could have been avoided.
TMC’s Derek O’Brien said Margaret Alva’s name was conveyed to them 15 minutes before a press conference in Delhi. TMC opposed the manner and method in which the candidate was decided. The message for Congress is: Do not take us for granted; treat us an equal partner.
TMC leaders have Sharada (Saradha), Narada, Coal, Rose Valley and Primary school teachers’ recruitment cases against them. CBI, ED and ITD target political rivals of BJP. TMC has found it expedient to remain neutral to avoid BJP’s vendetta. Talk of manner and method and process is an excuse. It is clear that Darjeeling meeting was about TMC not opposing Jagdeep Dhankar as VP candidate.
There is a saying in Hindi.
सच्चाई छुप नहीं सकती बनावट के उसूलों से |
खुशबू आ नहीं सकती कभी कागज़ के फूलों से |
(Truth can not be hidden by false principles. Fragrance can never come from paper flowers.)