New Delhi: The international media may be calling Mamata Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief, a mercurial but powerful leader. Back home, the Opposition have hailed her as a brave woman after her decision to withdraw her ministers from the UPA government after it refused to give in to her demands to roll back the recent economic reforms, that included 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail, announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to bring the economy back on track.
Despite her decision to withdraw support, the Congress has still called her a close friend.
Mamata's press conference on Tuesday, conducted not just in Bengali but also in Hindi and English, seemed to announce a new identity for the Trinamool Congress post its divorce with the UPA, an identity of a pro-poor anti-reforms national party.
First came the announcement of withdrawal. Then her announcement of nationwide street protests. Mamata said she will agitate. "We are the only party that believes in sidhantha. We are for poor people... We are for ganatantra," she said.
Her party members too believe that Mamata is the "only person (in Indian politics) with integrity".
TMC leader Amit Mitra said, "We are not isolated. The people are with us. Mamata Banerjee is the only person with integrity."
Mamata may be an agitational street-fighting politician but in her politics, there may just be a long term political agenda.
Given Mamata's political ambitions, she could well form a fourth front, a new oppositional front to the Congress.
With Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati compromised by corruption and lack of ideology, the BJP confused about its identity of whether it is pro or anti-reforms, with the Left weakened by successive defeats, it is Mamata Banerjee who could well be positioning herself as the New Left, a new voice of Opposition in the era of globalisation and the free market.
Already the Trinamool Congress has 5 MLAs in Arunachal, 7 MLAs in Manipur and 1 MLA in Assam. The party recently even won a seat in Uttar Pradesh.
One streetfighting woman built this party, and now she has once again taken to the streets against foreign investment and "anti-people" reforms. Does she have a future? Well, let's not forget that the name of the party is the All India Trinamool Congress.