The much expected political foray of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee into the national politics turned out to be a damp squib.  It was expected to garner for Trinamool Congress (TMC) president’s national ambitions with Anna Hazare in tow but it turned out to be a major embarrassment to Mamata Banerjee who was left red faced as Anna Hazare did not turn up at Ramlila Maidan. Banarjee’s first election rally with Hazare on Wednesday ended up as disappointing solo act as anti-corruption crusader skipped it.

Hazare’s aides cited health problems for his skipping the rally received a lukewarm response. “Anna ji’s health is our priority. So if he is unwell, he should not come out in this sunlight. And if he has decided, then he would be correct to do so. Anna had to convey a message, Mamataji is conveying the message,” Sunita Godara, a close aide of Anna Hazare said. However, sources claimed he did not show up at the rally owing to lower turn out. Though the rally was scheduled at 11 am; it could start only at 2.30 pm as less than 2,000 people came to Ramlila Maidan, the venue of the rally.

Following Hazare’s last minute withdrawal, the West Bengal CM addressed the rally during which she indirectly held him responsible for the flip flop. She said that Anna was willing to organize the rally so we held the rally here; otherwise the party could have opted for some other places. “I could have filled trains with supporters, but I didn’t because I have reached here by hard work. People are with me. I had problems in state, but I had promised so I came. My party will continue the fight even if no one gives us support. If I would have informed that no one will support, I would have managed people from my own but any case, I will not run by leaving the stage,” said Mamata at the outset of her nearly 20-minute speech.

At the thinly-attended rally in Ramlila ground, Banerjee targeted both Congress and BJP besides arch-rivals Left parties. She led a veiled attack on BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi and rubbished his claims of development in the state. “The BJP says it will come to power. But I ask how the party will come to power when face of Gujarat is ‘communal’,” she said adding that the West Bengal is ahead of Gujarat in various fields but the fact is that we do not believe in publicizing in media all the time. “Gujarat is ahead of Bengal in children’s death. The Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) is above the national average in West Bengal. We have reduced electricity rates, provided free water but other states give subsidy only,” said the West Bengal CM.

Ruling out support to either BJP or Congress in the post-poll scenario, she said that the two parties form a syndicate for selling the country. “They can come together and CPI (M) also has an understanding with these parties. They use CBI, Income Tax department and Enforcement agencies as a tool to scare political parties and to garn their support. TMC will not support the Congress, BJP or the CPI (M) ever and not even support anyone which has association with these two parties. We will contest the elections on our own and will try to shape ‘Federal front’ after the elections. Our party will fight all seats of Delhi and the candidates will be announced probably on Thursday or Friday. Actor Biswajit Chatterjee will fight one seat of Delhi this time,” Banerjee added.