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Mamata Banerjee, the domestic (abuse) Goddess

With friends like these who needs enemies?

When Mamata Banerjee delivered the final fatal blow to the government’s Lokpal bill, there was no avoiding the truth: Didi is indeed the Wicked Witch of the East. The truth was clear to everyone, except perhaps her hapless long-suffering “partner” – the Congress. The party is still steadfastly standing by its woman like a battered spouse who has nowhere to go.

Oh how do I humiliate thee? Let me count the ways.

This time around Mamata might claim she is doing it to uphold the state’s rights but the pattern is clear.

The Congress-TMC marriage looks increasingly like a textbook case for an abusive relationship, with Didi showing all the signs of an abusive spouse: blames others for actions, needs to be in control, easily upset or angered, unrealistic expectations of the relationship, history of mood swings. Check check check. According to Outlook magazine, Manmohan Singh spent the year reading books like An Economist’s Miscellany by Kaushik Basu and Managed Chaos by Prem Shankar Jha this year. He might have been better off browsing those domestic abuse websites and taking those quick online quizzes – 10 signs to know if you are in an abusive relationship.

Reuters

Take, for instance, this useful nugget from HealthCentral.com.

An emotional abuser goes through life feeling entitled to be treated like royalty, and wants you to be a willing servant. He or she expects you to do everything and will not help at all.

Hmm why does that sound familiar?

Or how about this helpful warning sign from the website Surviving Abuse?

Depressing: If your partner does something that humiliates, diminishes, and embarrasses you, your case for abusive relationship becomes strong. Such acts could happen in public places or in the privacy of your home.

That sounds just like the kind of person who would unilaterally announce the Trinamool Congress election candidate list leaving her “partner” to pick up the scraps. Or how about that day in September when she left the PM stranded  by pulling out at the last minute from his high-profile meeting with Bangladesh’s Sheikh Hasina, the first time Dhaka has had an India-friendly government in years. Manmohan Singh thought the water talks with Bangladesh had Didi’s blessings but she proved him royally wrong.

If Mamata had any remorse about this foreign policy embarrassment she didn’t show it. By November she was threatening to topple the government over a petrol price hike. She had to climb down on that one but still managed to make it sound like she was calling the shots.

"We don't want to blackmail the UPA government. We don't want to come out if it takes a correct decision," Banerjee said.

Right, I don't want to hit you. You made me do it.

Above all, an abuser always has to show who is boss in the relationship. In describing why the BJP was happy to make the Lokayukta amendment “Mamata’s baby”, her hometown newspaper The Telegraph, perhaps inadvertently, lapsed into language that could have been pulled from any of these surviving abuse websites.

As long as Mamata Banerjee stuck to her guns, brought the Congress-led UPA “down on its knees” by forcing it to acknowledge the “supremacy” of the states over the Centre and got the Lokayukta amendment incorporated.

What’s worse is unlike a garden variety abuser who wants to control his partner’s finances and spending, this one has no money of her own and is quite happy to spend whatever she can bully out of the victim. It’s a little bit like that drunk husband who comes home and gives his hard working wife a black eye and then goes carousing with her money.

As the Hindustan Times reports:

After forcing the suspension of the FDI in retail policy and the pension bill, the partial opposition to the Lokpal bill was the third jolt Banerjee has delivered to the UPA even though her government received a whopping Rs 8,750-crore special package early this month.

As 2011 ends, and the Congress licks its wounds, many of them self-inflicted, Manmohan Singh is probably working on his 2012 reading list.

Might we suggest this handy guide from Oprah’s Dr. Phil: An Exit Action Plan: Guidelines for Leaving an Abusive Relationship

But first of all, one has to get to the first step: Admit to being in one.