BATTLE OF THE FLAGS AND POSTERS DOWN GOAN HIGHWAYS! Mamata-didi splashed across bus-stop shelters and smiling down benignly…she is yet to arrive but nobody is sure how many Goan hearts she will win over to defeat the ruling BJP party in Goa and in Delhi! The second pic is of I-PAC team members putting up a poster at the ICG for a press conference.
PERHAPS few in Goa would know that West Bengal’s first ever woman chief minister is quite a woman of substance and has achievements galore tucked away in her saintly white saree pallu. She is a bona fide educated chief minister. Do you know that amongst her several degrees she has a master’s degree in Islamic history? Plus, she has degrees in education and law.
Mamata Banarjee’s political lifestyle is an open book but little is known about her private lifestyle except that she lives a simple, mostly humble life and a Bengali friend who knows off her more than most tells me she will walk into a house and “make tea for you, sit down with the cup of tea and talk to you!” Oh yes, if you take liberties with her she may never let you rest in peace!
Mamata-didi writes poetry and is a painter with her paintings being bought up by her legion of admirers. However, most of her admirers come from the non-elite lower and upper classes of West Bengal. From the sound of it she is least bothered about the Bengali elite aristocracy. She gets these crazy or not so crazy ideas like introducing Rabindra Sangeet at traffic light signals in Kolkata….never mind who listens!
She is a politician full time going places currently. But interestingly she has worked variously as stenographer, primary school teacher, as a private tutor and even as a salesgirl. All this despite getting a degree from Jogesh Chandra Chaudhury College of Law under the Calcutta University from where she had graduated with a Master’s degree in the Arts in 1979. She took to Congress politics early in her youth and soon there was no looking back for this feisty woman born to lead.
She broke from the Congress (I) to start her Trinamool Congress which brought her to power as the chief minister of West Bengal successively. She made history by bringing down 36 years of Communist party rule in West Bengal and inherited the party’s socialist policies to implement them in her own way. It is said she inherited most of the Communist party’s “goons” who joined the Trinamool and that is how she enjoys the reputation of being the queen of all street-fighters, euphemistically of course.
Mamata-didi has been the chief minister of West Bengal since 2011 and the All India Trinamool Congress is also the All India Grassroots Congress ) with the TMC being the fourth largest party in the Lok Sabha. Her birthday? She was born on January 5, 1955, in a Hindu Brahmin family to parents Promileswar Banerjee and Gayetri Devi and has six brothers, no sister. The general opinion about her is that she gives herself no airs and lives a most straighforward lifestyle in her modest residence in a suburb of Kolkatta.
She loves to walk and current gossip is that she is anxious to come and walk with the people of Goa while she is on her way up to the prime minister’s hot seat of power! This is because she is sorely miffed with the male chauvinist government of the BJP which gave her hard time in the recent elections in West Bengal and now she has one aim in mind with the blessings of many in the country. How to teach the BJP a lesson in manners in the Opposition for a change.
Ah yes, some of the pulp media of West Bengal have allegedly spread rumors that Mamata-didi was married for a brief while to a Muslim man but these are just rumors possibly spread by her enemies and one couldn’t find any of this loose talk substantiated while reading about her. Her enemies say she wilfully destroyed the industrial business base of West Bengal and she is no friend of the upper crust bhadra lok who think she is biased needlessly in her thinking.
This is just to say the Trinamool Congress is now in Goa anew with Mamata-didi message of “Maa, Mati, Manush” (translating to mother, earth and humankind) which she is committed to. Goans are getting mesmerized by Mamata-didi who is a far cry from say an Indira Gandhi or a Jayalalitha or a Mayawati, beginning with former veteran Congressman Luizino Faleiro –who has shifted allegiance from Sonia Gandhi to Mamata Banerjee!
Would I vote for Mamata Banerjee? Mamata-didi, yes, even if I may not think highly of who she chooses as Goa Trinamool Party’s face for chief minister! Who she chooses will also tell us a lot about how politicians over the passage of time. We have seen how our politicians quickly get corrupted by power and forget that they have been voted to their seats of power for the larger interests of state and country. Not to end up catering to their own petty interests of personal vanities and dynastic ambitions!
As a much disillusioned voter I would give Mamata-didi one fair chance to see if she delivers and what she delivers. Hopefully and definitely not the heartaches and miseries of the Congress party over 60 plus long years, or the even worse power-obsessed BJP over the last seven years. Yes, I would give a woman like Mamata Banarjee a chance.
— Pankajbala R Patel