Trinamool Congress lawmaker Mahua Moitra has earned plaudits for her fiery maiden speech in the Lok Sabha in which she warned that prevalent signs suggest that India is moving towards fascism. The Member of Parliament from Krishnanagar, during the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address Tuesday, said, “Only if you would open your eyes, you would see that there are signs everywhere, that this country is being torn apart.”
Who is Mahua Moitra?
A former investment banker with American multinational investment bank JP Morgan, Moitra quit her job in London in 2009 to enter the Indian political scene. She pursued higher education at Massachusetts’ Mount Holyoke College in the United States where she studied mathematics and economics.
The 44-year-old lawmaker from West Bengal began her political career with a brief stint in the Congress in West Bengal, but she switched sides to the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress in 2010. Having served as TMC’s national spokesperson for several years, Moitra has appeared regularly in television debates.
Last year, Moitra found herself in a row as a delegation of TMC MPs, who were on a two-day visit to Assam to participate in a convention against the National Register of Citizens (NRC), claimed they were detained and manhandled by police when they arrived at Silchar airport. While the Assam Directorate General of Police claimed two constables suffered injuries after being “assaulted” by Moitra, the TMC has said its members were “roughed up” at the airport. The Assam DGP had said the TMC leaders were stopped from entering Silchar as authorities feared their arrival would “create differences among the people.”
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Moitra won her Lok Sabha constituency against BJP’s Kalyan Chaubey by over 60,000 votes.
In her maiden speech in Parliament, the TMC lawmaker pointed to seven signs to say that the country was sliding down a ‘dangerous path’. She said that the US Holocaust memorial museum put up a poster in 2017 that “contained the list of all the signs of early fascism” and that each of the signs she mentioned are on that list.
Of the seven signs, Moitra began with the “powerful and continuing nationalism that is searing into our national fabric”, which she said “is superficial”, “xenophobic” and “narrow”. “In a country where ministers cannot produce degrees to show they graduated from college, you expect dispossessed poor people to show papers to show that they belong to this country,” Moitra said.
“There is an ‘obsession with national security and identification of enemies’ and everyone is in fear of ‘some nameless, shameless kaala bhoot’, she said. Moitra claimed that the ‘achievements of the Army are being usurped in the name of one man’,” she added.