Battle of slogans in West Bengal as political parties launch election campaigns

Published : March 07, 2020 19:20 IST

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during the launch of the Trinamool Congress’ ‘Banglar Garbo Mamata’ (Bengal’s pride Mamata) campaign ahead of the municipal elections and the 2021 Assembly election, in Kolkata on March 2. Photo: PTI

With the municipal elections just round the corner and the Assembly elections scheduled early next year, the political temperature in West Bengal is rising with the main political parties launching their respective political campaigns and slogans. After Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced on March 1 the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) new campaign and slogan “Aar Noy Anyay” (No More Injustice), the ruling Trinamool Congress launched its own campaign – “Banglar Gorbo Mamata” (Bengal’s Pride Mamata) on March 7 in each of the 294 Assembly constituencies in the State.

The “Banglar Gorbo Mamata” campaign kickstarted with a ‘Trinamool Workers’ Conference’ in each constituency, and the sitting MLA or the Assembly constituency coordinator inaugurated the campaign with a press conference.

The campaign, which is believed to be the brainchild of the political strategist Prashant Kishor, makes it clear that the ruling party has to once again rely on the image of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to pull it through in the coming elections. With the Trinamool facing a stiff challenge from the BJP on the one hand, and rising anti-incumbency sentiment owing to rampant corruption and highhandedness of leaders at the grassroots level on the other, a tough fight lies ahead for the Trinamool. The incessant infighting in the party came to the fore even during the Trinamool Workers’ Conference in Katwa constituency in Purbo Bardhaman district during the launching of the ‘Banglar Gorbo Mamata’ campaign.

The campaign was announced several days earlier and massive hoardings with the picture of a smiling Mamata Banerjee began to crop up at different busy locations in Kolkata. To counter this campaign, the West Bengal Pradesh Congress is coming up with a campaign of its own, in which it will highlight the historical and cultural icons of Bengal like Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam and Subhas Chandra Bose, who they say are the “true pride of Bengal”. “We are urging people to not allow the concept of Banglar Gorbo (the pride of Bengal) to be diluted in this manner by the Trinamool’s campaign,” said Amitabha Chakraborty, West Bengal Pradesh Congress general secretary.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front, in line with its opposition to the BJP rule at the Centre and the Trinamool government in the State, has come up with the slogan “Modi Mamata ek hai” (Modi and Mamata are one)—a two-pronged attack on both the BJP and the Trinamool. On March 2, the day after Amit Shah held a rally in Kolkata, the Left and the Congress hit the streets in protest against both the Trinamool and the BJP. CPI(M) state secretary and Polit Bureau member Surjya Kanta Mishra pointed out, “We do not get permission to hold rallies and take out processions in the city, but Amit Shah could hold a rally without any problem.”