As a major face of the Opposition protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the decision of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (pictured) to skip the meeting convened by Congress President Sonia Gandhi on January 13 to discuss the Opposition’s future strategy is unfortunate. However, one cannot rush to conclude it as a major crack within the ranks of the Opposition. Since the compulsion of state politics is at times at variance with the national narrative, the moves of Banerjee, who had hitherto positioned herself as a relentless crusader against the CAA, needs to be interpreted as her wider political strategy of not allowing her major political opponents -- the Left and the Congress -- to capture the anti-BJP space in her home state.
Building a united front against the CAA and other controversial decisions of the BJP-led government by itself is a big challenge considering the discernible wider state-level contradictions and the reality of regional parties prioritising their local electoral interests over larger ideological concerns. Overcoming this inherent challenge in forging a united front at the national level requires a pragmatic approach from all the major Opposition players. M Jeyaram Tamil Nadu
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