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Mamata born rebel, has an aura impossible to ignore: Pranab Mukherjee

Former President Pranab Mukherjee said in his new book 'The Coalition Years' that she had built her career fearlessly and aggressively and it was the "outcome of her own struggle".

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published: October 17, 2017 10:23 pm
Pranab Mukherjee, Mamata Banerjee, Mukherjee, The Coalition Years, Pranab Mukherjee on Mamata Banerjee, india news, indian express news Former President Pranab Mukherjee

Former President Pranab Mukherjee has described Mamata Banerjee as a “born rebel” and recalled how she once stormed out of a meeting, leaving him feeling “humiliated and insulted”. Noting that there was an aura about her which was “difficult to explain but impossible to ignore”, Mukherjee said in his new book ‘The Coalition Years’ that she had built her career fearlessly and aggressively and was the “outcome of her own struggle”.

“Mamata Banerjee is a born rebel,” he wrote, adding that nothing illustrated this trait better than an episode in the West Bengal Congress organisational election in 1992, in which she was defeated. He recollected how she suddenly changed her mind and demanded open elections in the party unit.

The former president recalled that after media reports said the top leaders of the West Bengal Congress, including Banerjee, wanted a consensus election to avoid an open contest that could bring out “ugly factionalism” in the party, then prime minister and Congress chief P V Narasimha Rao asked him to mediate and find a solution.

“One day, during the winter of that year, I requested Mamata Banerjee for a meeting to discuss some of the observations she had made about the process (of organisational elections).

“During the discussion, Mamata suddenly flared up and accused me along with other leaders of a conspiracy against her. She now demanded organisational election, and said she had always stood for elections so that grass-roots level workers could have their say in organisational matters,” he said in the book.

Banerjee went on to accuse him and others of “distributing organisational positions” among themselves, “thereby thwarting the electoral process”, he wrote.

Mukherjee said he was “flabbergasted by her reaction and wild allegations” and told her that a compromise formula was being devised at the request of the leaders, including her.

But she claimed she was totally opposed to his approach and wanted open elections, he said. “Having said that she left the meeting in a huff. I was stunned and felt humiliated and insulted,” he said.

The former president said she lost by a very narrow margin to Mitra in the election for the post of the WBPCC president held through a secret ballot. “I was present when that result was announced. An angry Mamata came up to me and asked, ‘Are you happy? Has your desire to defeat me been fulfilled?’ I told her that she was totally mistaken,” Mukherjee recalled. He told her he had played no role in the organisational election since she last met him.

The former Congress leader in the book also said that the evolution of Mamata Banerjee as a political leader of substance was an important episode in contemporary politics of West Bengal. “She has built her own career – fearlessly and aggressively – and what she is today is the outcome of her own struggle, labour and hard work. She has an aura about her which is difficult to explain but impossible to ignore,” he said.

He also said Banerjee emerged as a force to reckon with after the Kolkata plenary in 1997 as has had a spectacular political career.

Mukherjee described her victory in the 1984 Lok Sabha when she defeated CPI(M)’s Somnath Chatterjee from Jadavpur, a constituency that was considered a citadel of the Marxist party. “This was a splendid victory and she appeared to be truly a giant killer. Throughout her subsequent political life, she has always faced tough challenges bravely and tried to convert them into opportunities,” he said.

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  1. M
    Oct 20, 2017 at 3:24 am
    Very bad example of "aura" for humanity!
    1. C
      Oct 19, 2017 at 10:19 am
      Whenever this Jihadini Mumtaz Begum shall be ousted from the power of West Bengal? In West Bengal, Millions of Hindus are tortured, raped and their temples are damaged by the Mullahs everyday. Usually the administration and Police dont take FIR and dont listen to Hindus. Its the astonishing fact of West Bengal. They administration and Police are always ready on one leg to make happy and appease the Mullas. Whenever they get any allegation from Hindus, they are very reluctant to hear it. They always try to hide the rape, violence and love Jihad activities on Hindus by Mullas. This is the scenario of West Bengal administration and Police due to Jihadini Mumtaz Begum. There is another part. Hindus who has entered West Bengal after severe torture from Bangladesh are not getting any valid documents since thirty years but the Jihadists who come from Bangladesh are getting valid passport by seven working days to be a valid citizen of India. What a selucous. What an appea t politics!