Nov. 20: The CPM is visibly enjoying Mamata Banerjee’s political isolation in her push for a no-trust motion and chose to make light of her overtures today, trying to suggest she was out of her depth in national politics.
“She has completely misunderstood the issue. The issue is not the government; the issue is policies. Policies have to be reversed. What do you do if another government pursues the same policies?” politburo member Sitaram Yechury said in New Delhi.
Asked about Mamata’s declaration that she was willing to go to the Bengal CPM headquarters to seek support for the no-trust motion, a smiling Yechury couldn’t help taking a dig at the chief minister.
“What can we say? She herself chose to boycott the CPM. Trinamul leaders asked their party men for social boycott of CPM members. Now she talks about going to Alimuddin (Street) out of political desperation.”
Yechury said Mamata should rather support the Left’s stand on FDI in multi-brand retail and force the Centre to reverse its decision.
“If she is opposed to FDI in retail, she should come with us and the wider Opposition. Her no-trust motion would end up giving a reprieve to the government as it has the numbers to prove its majority,” he said.
“But it (the Centre) will get cornered on FDI in retail as even Mulayam Singh Yadav has joined us and courted arrest to protest it (the move). So, he cannot give relief to the government.”
The CPM is confident that the wider Opposition, including the NDA, would prefer to back its stand rather than Mamata’s.
The NDA too said it would submit a notice demanding a discussion under a voting clause on retail FDI. It did not seem too keen on the no-trust motion but did not reject it outright.
With the Opposition uniting against retail FDI, the Trinamul MPs who arrived here largely lay low instead of going about seeking support for the proposed no-trust motion.
Trinamul Lok Sabha chief whip Kalyan Banerjee, however, was learnt to have broached the subject at a meeting of chief whips in Parliament.
“The government is in a minority. How can it pass various bills? We want to bring a no-confidence motion and have appealed for support from all parties,” Kalyan was quoted by sources as telling the meeting. But there seemed to be no takers for his views.
Jaya options open
Jayalalithaa has said her party would vote against the Centre on any retail FDI resolution but a decision on supporting Trinamul’s proposed no-confidence motion can be taken only after the numbers become clear.
“If the no-confidence motion comes, it has to be successful. So far, nobody has approached us for support. If it comes up, we can decide only after knowing who and how many will be supporting it,” she said in Chennai.
Jayalalithaa’s comments suggest that if she is confident about the numbers, she might back the Opposition even if it results in a mid-term election. “We welcome a mid-term election and are always ready for it,” she said.
The situation would change, however, if Mulayam and Mayawati announce their intention to bail the government out. In that case, Jayalalithaa would not want to be seen on the losing side.
The DMK has said it would oppose FDI in multi-brand retail but would not vote against the government on the issue.
“We will oppose the move but abstain from voting since we do not want to put the government in a fix. As for the no-trust vote, we are fully with the UPA,” a party MP said.