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Rediff.com  » News » When Mamata spoke, and we wished she HADN'T!

When Mamata spoke, and we wished she HADN'T!

Last updated on: March 15, 2012 15:27 IST

When Mamata spoke, and we wished she HADN'T!

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Mamata Banerjee could write a best-selling manual on How to be in the news ALL the time for ALL the wrong reasons.

The Trinamool Congress chief has consistently made headlines since she took over as the chief minister of West Bengal in May last year. Unfortunately, they have almost always been for Didi's inexplicable outbursts, her stringent opposition to every step taken by the Centre and her tasteless reactions to incidents of violence in the state ruled by her.

Rediff.com rewinds some of the many, many times Mamata's (in)famously volatile and unpredictable ways have left us gasping for breath!

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Image: Mamata Banerjee


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Did she, will she?

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Didi has again left the nation wondering, "what the..."

Will she ask Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi to resign, or won't she?

Will Trivedi step down, or won't he?

After TMC Member of Parliament Trivedi hiked passenger fares in the railway budget presented on Wednesday, he was reportedly asked to quit by his party boss.

This despite the fact that the ruling United Progressive Alliance had supported the Budget and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has personally endorsed it. Her call to fire a Cabinet minister also shockingly overrides the authority of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in such matters.

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Image: Dinesh Trivedi with Mamata Banerjee


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With allies like her, who needs the Opposition?

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The Trinamool Congress is the biggest opposition in Manipur and at the Centre, commented a political analyst wryly during a recent debate on a news channel.

He was not very far off the mark. TMC, or rather its chief Mamata, has put a spanner in the works for nearly every step taken by the ruling UPA.

Trinamool, with 18 Members of Parliament, is the Congress's most important ally in the UPA.

Here is a list of the some of the UPA's pet projects she has opposed tooth and nail -- 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.

With allies like her, who needs the Opposition anyway?

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Image: Mamata Banerjee with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh


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Mamata fights for the 'common man'

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The TMC took the government utterly by surprise when it opposed the much-hyped Lokpal Bill introduced in Parliament with much fanfare.

The Congress, under tremendous flak for rampant corruption, was looking to score political brownie points by getting the Lokpal Bill passed. But the Trinamool was not going to make it so easy for its ally.

The TMC opposed the provision on the appointment of Lokayuktas in the states and demanded its total deletion.

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Image: A rally in support of Lokpal Bill
Photographs: Rajesh Kerkera/Rediff.com

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'Difficult to accept such arbitrary exercise of power'

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In yet another embarrassing incident, Mamata joined hands with Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to protest the proposed National Centre for Counter Terrorism.

She wrote a letter to Dr Singh, asking him to "review and withdraw" the decision.

Expressing concern that the NCTC would infringe on the federal rights of states, Mamata had said, "It is difficult for the state government to accept such arbitrary exercise of power by the central government/central agency".

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Mamata makes government eat humble pie

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Mamata almost brought the central government to its knees with her staunch opposition to its decision to introduce 51 per cent FDI in retail.

The beleaguered government had refused to budge from its decision in spite of rancorous protests from the Opposition and demonstrations across the nation.

But it could not convince a stubborn Mamata to agree to the decision which was, yet again, against the "interest of the common man".

In a classic move to prove her hold over the Centre, Mamata told a television channel that the government would reverse its decision because of her opposition, hours before the UPA formally agreed to do so.

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Image: A protest against FDI in retail

Tags: Mamata , FDI , UPA , OMamata

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Protests against fuel price hike

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Mamata almost brought the central government tumbling down by threatening to walk out of the UPA after fuel prices were hiked in November last year.

Using her second-most favourite phrase (the first one is the much more frequently heard: This is entirely the CPI-M's fault), she claimed that the move was "against the interests of the common man".

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Image: A petrol pump

Tags: UPA , CPI-M , Mamata

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'Baby deaths are a planned conspiracy'

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Her performance as the CM of West Bengal, or Pashchim Banga as it has been fancily renamed during her tenure, is no less amusing or appalling depending on how you choose to look at it.

When media reports surfaced about the deaths of over 40 children in a government hospital in Malda, Mamata dismissed them as "rumours".

"It is a rumour intended to mislead people. It is not a fact that children are dying in state-run hospitals due to negligence," she claimed.

When it was proved beyond doubt that the reports were authentic, Mamata resorted to her favourite pastime of blaming the earlier Left Front regime.

"Baby deaths are a planned conspiracy by the Left," she declared.

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'Fake rape charges are being levelled'

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Continuing to demonstrate her sympathetic streak, the Bengal CM had dismissed the shocking Park Street rape case as a "cooked up case".

The victim, a mother of two, had been raped in a moving car after leaving a night club located in Park Street.

Reacting to another rape case in Katwa in Burdwan district, Banerjee proclaimed, "Fake rape charges are being levelled to malign Bengal's good name. In Bengal, there shouldn't be any such instance. After all, we are all decent people here".

She went on to add that since the deceased husband of the rape victim was a CPI-M worker, there could be no doubt that the incident had been fabricated.

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'CPI-M workers murdered due to internal tussle'

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Two senior leaders of the CPI-M -- Pradip Tah and Kamal Gayen -- were brutally killed in Burdwan district, allegedly by four Trinamool workers who were later arrested.

Conveniently opting for total denial, Mamata claimed that the murders were the result of internal tussles in the Left party.

She also helpfully pointed out that the murders did not amount to 'butchering' as the murdered victims had criminal cases lodged against them.

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Image: File photo of a CPI-M rally


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Blue sky is the limit

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Last but not the least on the list is Didi's misguided attempt to give Kolkata a makeover and transform it into a world-class city like London.

Mamata's administration plans to paint the city, railings, traffic islands, flyovers, footbridges and parks in blue and white.

This is how a party worker explains the choice of colour: "The sky is the limit for Bengal's dream development, and white is absorbent of all colours and symbolises peace and harmony".

Oh, and did we tell you about the decision to play Rabindra Sangeet at every traffic signal in the city, giving respite to the many commuters and motorists who spend hours at such signals, thanks to the muddled and impenetrable jams in the City of Joy?

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Image: A woman watches a procession in Kolkata


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TOP photo features of the week

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Click on MORE to see another set of PHOTO features...


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