From Didi to Ma: Mamata changes gear to take on PM Modi

The TMC chief is using the occasion of her July 21 Martyr’s Day speech to reach out to voters in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Tripura

In Tamil Nadu, a wall graffiti reportedly came up mentioning Banerjee as “Amma”, a moniker used for former AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa. Pic: Twitter

To position itself as the principal challenger to the BJP and its leader as an alternative to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Trinamool Congress has lined up a slew of promotional measures including repacking its supremo Mamata Banerjee from Didi to Amma or Ma.

As part of this promotional exercise, the party for the first time will telecast “Martyr’s Day” speech of Banerjee in several states, including Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Tripura.

The TMC observes July 21 every year as Martyr’s Day in memory of the 13 people who were killed in police firing at a rally of Youth Congress-led, which was led by a young and fiery Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata in 1993.

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The TMC chief will use the occasion to address a virtual rally in Bengali. The translated version of her speech in local languages will be telecast on giant screens across the country, said a TMC leader about the party’s ambitious plan.

In Gujarat, which will go to poll in December next year, the plan is to air Gujarati translation of the Bengal chief minister’s speech in all 33 districts of the state.

A poster in Gujarati announcing Mamata Banerjee’s martyr’s day speech on July 21. Pic: Twitter

“We are planning to put up 50 giant screens across the 33 districts. To inform the people about the programmes we are putting up posters and distributing leaflets,” a TMC leader said.

Banerjee is expected to deliver the speech at 2 pm on Wednesday (July 21) where she is likely to outline the party’s future strategy.

Preparations are also on in other states. In Tamil Nadu, for instance, wall graffiti reportedly came up mentioning Banerjee as “Amma”, a moniker used for former AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa.

The youth wing of the TMC also put up a giant graffiti in North Kolkata wherein it wrote ‘Ma Mamata’ in various state languages on an Indian map. The TMC supremo is generally referred to as Didi (elder sister) and not as Ma (mother).

Also read: Anti-BJP front emerges as CPI(M) ready for tie-up with Trinamool

The evolution was necessitated because TMC spin doctors feel ‘mother’ will be a more apt image nationally for Banerjee than that of Didi, sources in the party said.

As part of its expansion plan, the TMC is translating its theme song for the 2021 West Bengal assembly elections khela hobe into Hindi.

“The Hindi version will be made keeping in mind the national scenario,” said Debangshu Bhattacharya, the TMC spokesperson and author of the song.

Inspired by the success of the Khela hobe as a slogan in Bengal elections earlier this year, Samajwadi Party recently put up hoardings in Kanpur saying ‘Ab UP Mein Khela Hoi’ (Now the game will be on in UP) in a reference to the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

Since its remarkable electoral victory in Bengal in May this year, the TMC has started nurturing national ambitions for its leader.

To further hone the ambition, Banerjee is likely to visit New Delhi either on July 25 or 26 on a four-day tour. During her stay in the national capital, the TMC chief is expected to meet leaders from various political parties, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Ahead of the visit, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh in a tweet on Monday (July 19) wrote: Aab Mamata didi ki bari hein (Now it’s Mamata didi’s turn). In the tweet he shared a cartoon that says Mamata Banerjee reached Delhi. Below the caption, there is a caricature of Mamata Banerjee calling Modi from a fuel filling station: Dada-o-dada tela hobe?

Earlier in the day, six TMC MPs arrived for the first day of the monsoon session of the parliament (July 19) riding on bicycles to protest against the rising fuel price.

The unusual protest was part of the party’s strategy to be seen as the frontrunner in the fight against the BJP government, according to TMC sources.

“The protest initiated by us today will show the path to the country,” said TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay.

Apart from fuel price, the TMC will also try to nail the BJP-led government on issues of farmers protests, inflation, shortage of COVID-19 vaccines and report of an international media consortium that claimed that over 300 phone numbers including that of two serving Union ministers, some opposition leaders, a sitting judge and over 40 journalists among others were targeted for hacking.

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