Mamata Banerjee has been credited with single-handedly masterminding the landslide mandate, which has given her party the right to rule over West Bengal for a second consecutive term. But, for Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and many others in the party, the real “match winner” and the “man of the match” is her nephew Abhishek Banerjee.
In a visible and distinct attempt to project Abhishek, Red Road, the venue where Mamata and 41 of her Cabinet colleagues took oath of office Friday, was dotted with banners and placards hailing the young MP from Diamond Harbour.
“Man of the Match – Abhishek Banerjee,” “Real match winner – Abhishek Banerjee,” read the posters. Informed sources said that some senior TMC leaders later arranged for the “silent removal” of the banners and the placards at least from some parts of the venue.
That, however, may just be a “minor deviation” as within the TMC, top party sources said, there is a powerful group that was working “systematically” to project him and bring him into the limelight.
On her part, Mamata, too seems to have given a tacit patronage to the campaign. An internal inquiry committee of senior TMC leaders constituted by Mamata to probe into the reasons behind “shock defeat” of 15 party candidates, including eight ministers, in the recently-concluded Assembly polls has Abhishek as a member.
What may have egged on the party’s young brigade was the role given to Abhishek in the run-up to the Assembly elections. He was made in-charge of several districts where he acted as an observer for selection and nomination of candidates, their campaign, and ensuring their victory.
He is believed to have succeeded to a great extent in districts like South-24 Parganas and Purulia – to name just two. An overwhelming majority of the seats in these two districts went to the TMC despite internal problems. Abhishek is believed to have done lots of ground work to sort out the infighting in the run-up to the polls.
…And a podium disconnect with ‘aam aadmi’
It was termed the “people’s swearing-in ceremony”. But there was a distinct “disconnect” between the ordinary, enthusiastic party workers and the viewers who had turned up at Red Road. The podium, where all the action took place, was placed so far from the audience that it hardly gave any positive vibes to the assembled crowd.
Many who turned up at the end of the long queues waited for some time before moving on to save themselves from the scorching sun.
The VIP enclosures were in doldrums evidently with much more cards distributed than the seats could have accommodated. Georgy Latsuzbaya of Consular and Protocol of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation was drenched in sweat. “Everything seems good apart from the unkind weather. Besides, we have no space to sit in the “A” enclosure for which we have been given the cards,” rued Georgy.
Georgy, however, appreciated that the government is repeating its term riding on a massive mandate. Asked for a response on the pathetic performance of Communists in the state, Georgy said: “The ballot is a reflection of the people’s will.”
Gorka Janmukti Morcha’s Bimal Gurung and Roshan Giri were seen sitting in the open, sweating profusely. Asked about any new equation in the hills, Gurung said: “Let’s see. She had a massive mandate. We will have to work in tandem for the development of the hills. The protocol demands so.”
Santanu Mandal, a middle-aged TMC supporter, however, had a little grudge. “Last time in 2011, we had seen Didi (Mamata) walking down to Writers Buildings, almost touching every one she crossed on the way. This time, there was no such opportunity. We and Didi are standing far apart,” he rued as he headed home with his group.
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