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Sarma plays Modi’s emissary, melts Didi’s heart

Mumbai: The bond between Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee, dating back to the 1980s when they were both Youth Congress functionaries, came into play again when Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent Sarma to win Didi’s tacit support for NDA presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu.

A source says, “Mamata and Himanta are CMs of neighbouring states, but also share political ties from their Youth Congress days. Similarly, both dynamic politicians were ignored despite their work and had to leave the Congress. Sarma was the logical emissary for Modi and has pulled off a coup through his diplomacy over tea with Didi.”

When the Assam CM reached out to Didi—whose party TMC had already announced the candidature of Yashwant Sinha for the presidential elections—the latter surprised her own partymen by choosing to meet her “younger brother”.

“Didi said that she could not decline Sarma’s overtures since—although he is a BJP CM—they lead neighbouring states. More importantly, they are also former political colleagues who each had to prove their mettle in India’s political arena. When the two met over tea, Didi was pleasantly surprised when he conveyed the BJP’s offer to withdraw WB Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar with whom she was at loggerheads and, on the verge of initiating impeachment proceedings,” the source reveals.

The TMC Chief was only too happy to dissipate the matter with Dhankhar’s exit from WB and was also issued a brotherly commitment of an amenable Governor to be next installed in WB. For her part, the firebrand TMC CM not only allowed party MPs to cross vote for Murmu as Indian President but also announced that her party would abstain from voting in the Vice-Presidential elections that follow in August.

If Sarma secured a big win for the BJP, Mamata also got the Modi Sarkar to quickly process the name change of West Bengal to Bangla, while upsetting the apple cart of opposition political formations.

The Mamata-Modi political war has turned into mutual respect and understanding with Didi now single-mindedly focused on the battle of local bodies due in her state in 2023, without any political distractions from the Centre. 

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