From conflict to confrontation

What was so long going on as a conflict between the State and the Centre, or between Mamata and Modi, has now turned into an open and no holds barred confrontation between the two. Carloads of CBI officers appeared out of the blue and made straight for the residence of the Commissioner of Police (CP), Kolkata on a quiet Sunday evening and tried to barge in. What happened next is known to all. Even if it is assumed that the CBI had sent several summonses to the CP and the CP had chosen to ignore them, it is highly unusual for so many CBI men to try to nab the CP as if he were a dangerous fugitive criminal, without prior intimation, in a hole and corner way. It is this that has provoked Mamata to go on an indefinite dharna at Esplanade.
If the Centre’s intention was to put pressure on Mamata and put her on the defensive on the eve of the elections, the Chief Minister quickly turned the tables on the Centre as support and promises of solidarity with her in her fight against Modi poured in from leaders of all opposition parties starting from Rahul Gandhi. Obviously, the BJP had not bargained for such a turn of events. That the ruling party has been rattled is obvious from the reaction of the BJP leaders who are trying desperately to show that opposition leaders are a bunch of unprincipled and corrupt men who have ganged up to prevent the inquiry into the chit fund scam.
The fact that for the last five years the Modi Government had done very little to expedite the probe and bring the culprits to justice but chose to send the CBI on an overdrive on the eve of the elections makes the Centre’s action suspect. In the sordid drama that is unfolding, the CP has become a very minor player. The battle is now an openly political one between the ruling party and almost the entire opposition. It is interesting to see that one of those named in the chit fund scam migrated from the Trinamool Congress to the BJP in time to save his skin Another controversial police officer whose loyalty to “Didi” was well known, and whose transfer was sought by the BJP, then out of power, later resigned and went into hiding, has just joined the BJP which must be as purifying as the Ganga.

Monday, 4 February, 2019