Mamata Banerjee goes to Darjeeling hills with promises, lets them all fall flat at the first visible signs of dissent
Shantanu Datta | January 29, 2013
Some leaders are good speakers, some are bad speakers, and a few are good at messing it up every time they are handed the microphone. There’s a difference between the last two; a difference as yawning as the one between, say, Manmohan Singh and Mamata Banerjee.
The former is a bad speaker, rhetorically speaking; the latter isn’t necessarily bad (neither is she particularly good, by the way) but excels at losing the opportunity, or dropping a sitter of a catch, so to speak. How else would you explain the West Bengal chief minister’s public address in Darjeeling on Tuesday?
While asserting that the Darjeeling hills would continue to remain a part of West Bengal, she told the crowd at the north Bengal hill station’s famous Mall: “Let us remain together, Darjeeling is part of Bengal and we will remain together…. There should not be further trouble as that would hamper development again.”
Nothing wrong with that. In the backdrop of the Telangana movement, where Hyderabad and other areas of the region that want out of Andhra Pradesh are hurtling into fresher crises every day, these are just the words Banerjee’s constituents in Bengal’s plains want to hear. But then her anti-leadership, perennially-opposition self took over the moment there was a murmur of dissent.
As a section of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporters raised slogans and displayed posters demanding a separate Gorkhaland toward the end of her brief address, Banerjee issued nothing less than a warning, as the PTI reports.
Visibly angry, Banerjee stood up and warned protesters not to raise such “political slogans” at the programme. “Please remember this is not a party programme; this is a government programme,” Banerjee said. “I am very rough and tough in such issues. You are free to give political slogans at party programmes but this is a government programme….
“Please do not give wrong message so that people will think Darjeeling is again going for problem.”
Aside from the incongruity that government and party programmes have never been too far apart for her own party, the Trinamool Congress, it’s rank bad oratory. It’s plain intimidation — that, too, from a chief minister.
Not that Banerjee arrived in the hills with nothing for the local population. Earlier, during her address, she said new tourist spots like Lamahata and Sandakfu had been developed or were being decked up. “Helipads, airports and other world-class facilities will be made available and, after that, tourists from all over the world will flock to Darjeeling,” she said, like her typical pat solution for everything.
She also announced that Rs 80 crore had been sanctioned for national highway-55, the lifeline to the hills from Siliguri in the plains, according to PTI.
Besides, two hydro-power projects were being developed at Teesta and Rimbhi aside from various development activities in Darjeeling and other hill sub-divisions of Kurseong and Kalimpong, she said.
But most of that would not have gone down the throat, let alone the brain or heart, of the locals, especially those opposed to Kolkata’s ‘diktats’. Most would remember the chief minister’s threats, wrath and frustration at meeting opposition. And they would seethe within.
Banerjee might have just worsened the situation in the hills with her immature handling of situations and her tart tongue.
Out of all MPs and MLAs in office, 58 have declared cases related to hate speech. This includes union minister for drinking water and sanitation Uma Bharti along with 14 other Lok Sabha MPs. The list also includes 8 state ministers. A party wise analysis reveals that BJP has the highest numb
After its withdrawal from Meghalaya and Arunachal, is it time to review AFSPA in other areas too?
There is an uncanny similarity in the pathological opposition to prime minister Narendra Modi by two members of the right wing, Pravin Togadia and Yashwant Sinha. They come from a diverse social and political background; yet they share a common strand that shows an unmitigated hatred towards
Data is the new oil; and it needs to be protected. In an interaction with Governance Now, Lionel Baraban, CEO of Famoco, talks about how the French tech firm is developing secure business devices to safeguard data against going to other countries. What are the major roles o
Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) and MTU, Germany have agreed to cooperate in the local manufacturing of technologically-advanced MTU series 8000 engines in India. Under the agreement, which was signed at India’s leading defence trade show Defexpo-18, the companies will manufacture the 16-
ONGC sportspersons outshone other participants in their respective categories in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. ONGCians bagged 13 medals including 5 Gold, 3 Silver and 5 Bronze, contributing to the 66 medal tally of Team India. ONGCians Ragala Venkat Rah