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Mamata Banerjee's 'Muri' Politics, TMC's New Mission & More at Shahid Dibas 2022

Mamata Banerjee used up most of her speech to attack the BJP on the national front, especially over GST using 'muri'

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Politics
5 min read
Mamata Banerjee's 'Muri' Politics, TMC's New Mission & More at Shahid Dibas 2022
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  • <div class="paragraphs"><p>Sporting TMC shades</p></div>

    Sporting TMC shades

    (Photo: Debayan Dutta / The Quint)

  • <div class="paragraphs"><p>A hawker selling Mamata Baneree&nbsp;paraphernalia</p></div>

    A hawker selling Mamata Baneree&nbsp;paraphernalia

    (Photo: Debayan Dutta / The Quint)

  • <div class="paragraphs"><p>TMC worker sitting on the divider waiting for the rally to start</p></div>

    TMC worker sitting on the divider waiting for the rally to start

    (Photo: Debayan Dutta / The Quint)

  • <div class="paragraphs"><p>A differently-abled man came all the way on his wheelchair from Howrah Station to Dharmatala to watch Mamata Banerjee</p></div>

    A differently-abled man came all the way on his wheelchair from Howrah Station to Dharmatala to watch Mamata Banerjee

    (Photo: Debayan Dutta / The Quint)

  • <div class="paragraphs"><p>"So many people can't go all the way to the front, so I am putting up a symbolic gesture for the people at the back." - Raju Shau&nbsp;</p></div>

    "So many people can't go all the way to the front, so I am putting up a symbolic gesture for the people at the back." - Raju Shau&nbsp;

    (Photo: Debayan Dutta / The Quint)

  • <div class="paragraphs"><p>There was an overwhelming presence of women, who have been a very loyal votebank for Mamata Banerjee and TMC</p></div>

    There was an overwhelming presence of women, who have been a very loyal votebank for Mamata Banerjee and TMC

    (Photo: Debayan Dutta / The Quint)

  • <div class="paragraphs"><p>The skies grew darker, but scores of people kept marching towards the stage</p></div>

    The skies grew darker, but scores of people kept marching towards the stage

    (Photo: Debayan Dutta / The Quint)

  • <div class="paragraphs"><p>People came from across the state in trucks, buses, tempos and even bicycles.&nbsp;</p></div>

    People came from across the state in trucks, buses, tempos and even bicycles.&nbsp;

    (Photo: Debayan Dutta / The Quint)

The Trinamool Congress hosted the Shahid Dibas after two years to a roaring crowd that stretched for miles. Even a heavy downpour didn’t stop the proceedings as scores of TMC supporters who had come from various parts of the state stood to listen to their leaders.

Lakhs of people attendedTMC's Martyrs' day event

(Photo: Trinamool Congress)

In fact, it might have just given India's political scene a new iconic image, a bit like Sharad Pawar's rally in the rain in Satara during the 2019 Maharashtra elections.

Abhishek Banerjee addressing the crowd in the pouring rain

(Photo: Trinamool Congress)

The Shahid Dibas was held at Kolkata’s Dharmatala after a COVID-hiatus of two years, to mark the death anniversary of 13 West Bengal Youth Congress cadres in police firing while protesting the then Jyoti Basu-led CPIM government, on 21 July 1993. Mamata Banerjee, who was the West Bengal Youth Congress leader, too had sustained injuries.

Mamata Banerjee after being injured during the 21 July protests

(Photo: Facebook / Mamata Banerjee)

Since coming to power in 2011, 21 July is observed not only as Martyrs’ Day, but also a platform for the Trinamool to showcase their strength and send a political message. In 2019, Mamata Banerjee used this event to boost the morale of the TMC cadre after a disappointing Lok Sabha elections result.

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This time around, when the TMC is en route to complete domination in the state, the overarching message was more in line with TMC’s national ambitions.

Muri Politics

TMC All-India General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee, followed by Mamata Banerjee, both attacked the BJP moments into taking the podium. They attacked the BJP over GST, inflation and allegedly using central agencies like CBI and ED to harass opposition leaders.

Mamata Banerjee, in her own unique style of politics, used puffed rice to attack the Centre over the recent imposition of GST on certain food items.

While addressing the rally, she stopped to ask if anyone had any muri (puffed rice). Kolkata mayor Firhad Hakim gets it onto the stage. She pours some on a plate, holds it in one hand and raises the issue of GST.

Mamata Banerjee holding a plate of puffed rice as she raised the issue of GST

(Photo: Trinamool Congress)

During her speech, a large LPG cylinder replica was brought upon the stage too, to showcase rising prices. LPG cylinders in Kolkata are priced at over Rs. 1000.

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Amader jinish firiye dao, noile BJP bidaye nao (Give us back our stuff, else take leave BJP).
Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister, West Bengal

While ‘muri politics’ might find its way into some primetime debates or twitter hashtags, Banerjee’s clever usage of a poor man’s predominant staple meal to showcase the fact that people must spend more, was a message loud and clear.

We will go to Delhi by trains and gherao the capital. You have to give us MGNREGA money. Don't scare us with ED and CBI
Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister, West Bengal

An Ode to CPI-M?

While attacking the BJP on the national front, Banerjee also gave a significant amount of importance to the CPI-M in West Bengal albeit by attacking them.

The surprising part to her giving CPI-M that space arises because it currently has 0 Assembly seats in the state and the BJP is the main opposition party.

Banerjee did not spend any time attacking the BJP in the state, but instead attacked the CPIM, specifically ex-Kolkata mayor and CPI-M MP Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya. Bhattacharya was the lawyer who took the WB government to court over several alleged recruitment scams recently.

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She highlighted that there was corruption and scams during the time of the CPI-M too.

Jobs will be given in Bengal only on merits. If someone works, he makes mistakes. If mistakes happen then those will be rectified but if someone makes mistakes intentionally, they will be punished. We all know how schoolteacher jobs were given to wives of CPI-M workers
Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister, West Bengal

Giving the CPI-M an adequate amount of importance during what might be called TMC’s grandest event of the year might just be an indicator as to whom the party would rather have as the opposition in the state.

On The National Highway

What was probably the part that supporters and political pundits were looking forward to the most was the party’s roadmap to 2024. While they did not reveal anything new, their message was straightforward.

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BJP will not get single majority, I am sure, I am challenging. When that happens, other parties will unite against them
Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister, West Bengal

She further claimed that the 2024 elections will not be a vote for election, but a vote for rejection.

Mamata Banerjee and Abhishek Banerjee both emphasized their national expansion plans and hardly spent any time on the upcoming panchayat polls.

Abhishek Banerjee addressing the crowd

(Photo: Trinamool Congress)

On the national front, Mamata Banerjee claimed that they will win all the seats in West Bengal in 2024.

We will win all the seats in West Bengal. In Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Goa, Meghalaya, we will also win with the help of friends.
Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister, West Bengal

She repeatedly spoke about the opposition coming together and putting up a united front to defeat the BJP. What was surprising here is that the same party which was attacking the Congress tooth and nail until a few months ago, did not mention the party’s name even once.

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In fact, the only time the grand old party was mentioned was when Sudip Bandopadhyay referred to Congress president Sonia Gandhi being summoned by the ED on 21 July.

Political experts opine that maybe the TMC has realized that no opposition front can be possible without the Congress which can still take the BJP head-on in several seats.

What bolstered these speculations is when Abhishek Banerjee during the press conference that evening said that if the TMC wanted, they could have tried to expand in Congress-ruled states, but they only went for states that are governed by the BJP.

However, Mamata Banerjee also mentioned that in 2024, she wants “one courageous, cultural, secular and ideal party in India, and that will be Trinamool Congress.”

Anit Thapa addressing the crowd

(Photo: Trinamool Congress)

On the state front, it was a sight to behold when a GTA Chief stood in Kolkata and shouted ‘Joy Bangla’. TMC has already made their foothold in the hills, and GTA Chief Anit Thapa attending the Shahid Dibas, and talking about working hand in hand with the TMC to solve the issues of the hills shows how much the dynamics in the hills have changed recently.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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