For all apparent purposes, the United Progressive Alliance's biggest opposition is not the Bharatiya Janata Party, but the Trinamool Congress. Specifically, its mercurial chief Mamata Banerjee.
Some of the UPA pet projects she has opposed tooth and nail are the National Counter Terrorism Centre, hike in fuel prices, the National Food Security Bill, the National Textbook Council, FDI in retail trade, and the Lokpal Bill.
Never mind that in all of these decisions she was more in tune with the Opposition parties than with the ruling alliance.
Her latest opposition is to the Railway Budget presented by Dinesh Trivedi, a senior member of her own party.
So incensed has she been over the paltry hike in passenger fares -- even while keeping quiet on the hefty hike in freight fares announced days before the Railway Budget that she asked the prime minister to sack Trivedi and roll back the hike or else
Is she, like the AIADMK's Jayalalithaa with the Vajpayee government in 1998, playing bully to a government that she knows cannot survive without her Parliamentary support?
Or is there a greater scheme behind her erratic actions?
Discussing the mercurial Mamata Banerjee on the Rediff Chat is Senior Editor Indrani Roy, a long-time watcher of Bengal and Mamata politics.
So whose side is Mamata Banerjee on?
On the Rediff Chat, on March 15, 2012, at 3 pm IST. Be there!
(Due to circumstances beyond our control, date and time of chat may change)