|Mithun gestures at the rally in Ranchi on Saturday. (PTI)
Ranchi, April 5: Mamata Banerjee today used the Jharkhand platform to polish her “kingmaking” skills, perhaps in anticipation of a similar role in Delhi after the general election.
The Bengal chief minister pointed out that two of her newly recruited MLAs held the key to the survival of the Congress-backed Hemant Soren government in Jharkhand.
The Soren government has the support of 40 MLAs, including Bandhu Tirkey and Chamra Linda, the two MLAs who have joined Trinamul. Tirkey belonged to a local party and Linda was an Independent.
The effective strength of the Assembly is 79, which means Soren cannot afford to lose the support of even one MLA. The two MLAs now with Trinamul have so far pledged support to the Soren government.
Addressing rallies in Dhanbad and Ranchi, with Rajya Sabha MP Mithun Chakraborty by her side, Mamata today said a decision whether to continue supporting the JMM-Congress-RJD government would depend on “your (the people’s) feedback”.
“Hum chahta to aaj hi sarkar ko fenk sakta tha. Lekin hum aisa nahi kiya… Hum janta ka rai lena chahta hai, kyonki janta jo karta hai sahi karta hai. After Lok Sabha elections, hum isko dekhega (If I wanted, I could throw the government out of power today. But I did not do any such thing. I want to take public opinion. Because whatever public does is right. I will think it over after the Lok Sabha elections),” she said at Ranchi’s Morabadi grounds.
Mamata arrived in Ranchi from Dhanbad around 3.30pm by which time a modest crowd had waited for more than two and half hours under a blistering sun.
So far, Trinamul has fielded candidates in 11 of 14 Lok Sabha constituencies in Jharkhand. Today’s rallies at Dhanbad’s Mugma and Ranchi’s Morabadi were well attended, considering the party is a new entrant in Jharkhand politics.
Over 10,000 people turned up for the rally in the coal town constituency where the party has fielded Chandra Shekhar Dubey, a Congress discard who has resigned as MLA, and 4,000 in Ranchi where it has fielded Tirkey, who is facing a CBI probe for alleged corruption when he was a minister in the erstwhile Madhu Koda cabinet.
In Ranchi, Mamata dubbed the BJP “communal” and the Congress “corrupt”. She asked the people not to vote for the two parties as she had seen them functioning from close quarters when she was associated with them.
“Neither the BJP nor the Congress has done anything good for the three new states of Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand which have a huge economic potential. Congress and BJP leaders looted these states,” she said.
At the same time, Mamata said she was not in favour of creation of Telangana as she was against dividing the country.
If Narendra Modi has his “Gujarat model”, Mamata flaunted her “Bengal model”. “Come to Bengal and see for yourself. Whether you are Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Bihari, or Jharkhandi, or speak Bhojpuri, Odia, Bengali or Assamese, or you belong to any other state… people are living in Bengal in harmony. Everyone celebrates all festivals together,” she said.
She wrapped up her speech at both venues by reciting, and at times singing, film songs. “Raat jitni bhi sangin hogi, subah utni hi rangin hogi,” she said, alluding to the better days that a Trinamul victory would herald.
Jharkhand will vote in three phases, from April 10 to 24