Anna Skips, Mamata Fumes

The veteran was missing in action at the much publicized rally of the TMC in the capital
Hardnews Bureau Delhi

Mamta Banerjee’s much-touted Delhi rally in Ramlila Maidan today turned out to be a no-show with Anna Hazare skipping event. The duo had been planning to address a joint rally, but Hazare reportedly cited ill-health for not showing up.

However, those in the know say the activist was not satisfied with the arrangements, especially the scant crowd that had gathered by noon. According to one report, by 2pm, only a few hundred people had turned up at the maidan. Mamata addressed the crowd and in her speech, she did allude to perhaps why the veteran activist had not turned up. She said she could have filled the train with her supporters, but didn’t as she had reached this place through her own efforts.

It was Anna Hazare’s close aide Sunita Godarae who confirmed that the activist had a bad case of chest congestion. Mamata, however, said in her speech that she would continue the fight even if no one was supporting her. Earlier on, she had claimed that her party would emerge as the third largest party in the Lok Sabha elections, after the BJP and Congress. She slammed the Left also. “They [Congress and BJP] can come together and CPI(M) also has an understanding with these parties. We will not support the Congress, BJP or the CPI(M) and not even support anyone who has been with them.”

Former AAP leader Vinod Kumar Binny is reportedly contesting on a TMC ticket. Besides West Bengal, the part is fielding candidates in eight states, including Delhi, where names of the seven candidates will be announced soon.

Anna Hazare had earlier praised Mamata Banerjee for her austere style and honest politics, but his not attending the rally has left the Bengal CM angry, who claimed she had come all the way to Delhi despite being burdened with a lot work back home. “But I had promised, so I came,” she said, while addressing the crowd.

Incidentally, the only one who seems happy about this outcome would be the imam in Kolkata who threatened to withdraw support to the TMC if Mamata shared the stage with Hazare.