Continuing her attack on the BJP government over the final draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday took an altogether different medium to slam the Centre. The TMC supremo penned a poem titled “Identity” and said those who protested against the saffron party had no place in the country and carried the risk of being labelled anti-national. The poem, written in Bengali and having six stanzas, was posted on the chief minister’s Facebook page with her signature. An English version of the poem has also been uploaded on Banerjee’s FB page.
The poem begins by asking, “Who are you, what is your surname, what is your religion…,” and the first stanza culminates by saying if one doesn’t have an answer to any of these then there is no place for him/her in the world. The next para questions, “What is your identity? Where do you live? Where do you study” and says if the information was not furnished, one is dubbed as a “traitor”.
The TMC chief had last week lashed out at the BJP for practicing identity politics after 40 lakh people were excluded from the final NRC draft at an event in Delhi and said it was the saffron party’s ploy to target particular communities and to isolate them. “Who are they to decide who can stay in the country and who cannot?” she had thundered.
In the poem, Banerjee writes that one is labeled a “terrorist” if anything adverse is spoken of or written about the ruling party. “Do you listen to mann-ki-baat, do you write against the ruling party? Then you have no place. You are a terrorist,” the poem says alluding to the BJP. “Those who don’t know the power of the ruling party and rebel against it are anti-nationals and have no place (in the country)”, it says.
Banerjee, who has been at the forefront of Opposition attack against the ruling party, also slammed the BJP over its treatment of Dalits, Christians and other minority communities, in the poem. ” What is your attire, who do you support, do you have ‘Gobardhan’ account. If the answer is in the negative, you are an infiltrator,” goes the poem.
In one of the harshest remarks over the NRC controversy, Banerjee, during her visit to Delhi last week, accused the “ruling party” of discriminating against and “questioning the Indianness of Indians” who do not support it, and warned that this would lead to “a civil war, a bloodbath”.
In 2016, after demonetisation was announced, Banerjee had posted a 32-line poem on her social media account, lambasting “the ruler” using strong words like “authoritarian” and talking about his rule as a “tyrannical” raj, in a reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Banerjee has written more than 53 books.