‘Banglar Gorbo:’ Prashant Kishor builds Mamata’s image amid COVID-19

Huge posters of Banerjee with the tag line ‘Banglar Gorbo Mamata’ (Bengal's pride) has taken over the city and its suburbs.

Huge posters of Banerjee with the tag line ‘Banglar Gorbo Mamata’ have taken over Kolkata and its suburbs | Facebook

A resolute Mamata Banerjee stands on a wall as a ‘shield’ between the COVID-19 pandemic and her beloved residents of the state, sleeping blissfully behind her.

This picture, depicting the West Bengal chief minister’s efforts in tackling the coronavirus outbreak in the state, was posted on the Facebook page of ‘Banglar Gorbo Mamata’ (Bengal’s pride, Mamata), a mass outreach programme fashioned by the poll-strategist Prashant Kishor for the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).

It was launched at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata on March 2 with a plan for a 75-day campaign across the state by the party. This was aimed at projecting Banerjee as the only leader capable of working for the welfare of the state.

Huge posters of Banerjee with the tag line ‘Banglar Gorbo Mamata’ has taken over the city and its suburbs. This shows, Kishore is evidently trying to build the TMC’s campaign for the upcoming assembly elections as many of the party leaders are facing charges of non-performance and corruption.


However, the campaign drive had to be shelved soon due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following this, Kishore and his I-PAC team continued their campaign on social media depicting Banerjee as ‘fierce protector,’ against the deadly virus, further glorifying her image. The Facebook post was shared over 1,700 times and elicited over 28,000 likes.

The picture was accompanied with a stanza from a Rabindranath Tagore’s poem, which reads:

“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,

But to be fearless in facing them.

Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but

For the heart to conquer it.”

Elections in more than hundred municipal bodies in the state and Kolkata Municipal Corporation, which were due this month, have been postponed. These elections which will most probably held after the ongoing crisis, are crucial ahead of 2021 assembly elections.

In the run-up to the elections, the party leaders are making the most of the lockdown as they are reaching out their constituencies. The challenge for them is to keep the political pot boiling without directly engaging in any politicking.

“In this, by the virtue of being the ruling party, the TMC has a definite edge over its challengers and it is trying to capitalise this advantage by projecting Mamata Banerjee as a sole crusader in the fight against the COVID-19,” said  Probir Pramanik, a senior journalist.

In addition to this, the chief minister is holding crucial official meetings on COVID-19 in front of live TV cameras so that the state sees her in action.

Opposition parties ‘shame’ Mamata

The Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) lashed out at the TMC and Banerjee for allegedly politicising a humanitarian crisis using social media platforms.

“For Didi, it is all about OneUp(Wo)Manship. Its she vs the Rest of the World. She has done good work in leading from the front and her media has covered it well but God Help the people in Rural Areas, the ones without Ration Cards, Sr citizens- left helpless in most places (sic),” BJP leader and Union Minister of State for Environment, Forests, and Climate Change Babul Supriyo wrote on Twitter.

In another tweet in Bengali he wrote, “What kind of mentality is this? Administrative meetings in districts, even the meeting at the state secretariat at this hour, are being held in front of the media’s cameras! You are so greedy for publicity! Shame Mamata shame! You have left no scope for respecting you.”