Ever since Mamata Banerjee has witnessed vast swathes of Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders flocking to Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), she has started to strangle voices of dissent in her party. Recently she publicly lambasted Mahua Moitra, who was emerging as a leader, who has a high probability of replacing her position as a supreme leader.
It’s an unstated and unwritten rule in politics that a political party’s internal conflicts of opinion are confined to party meetings only, and when in public, every leader of the party has to be in synchronisation with every other member. However, Mamata’s rebuking of Mahua did not follow this trend, and there are some obvious probable reasons behind it.
Mahua’s increasing clout in Delhi circles
Mahua has been a vocal critic of BJP’s policies and politics. Her speeches inside parliament (although heavily plagiarised) have drawn huge attention from left-wing media portals. She was increasingly touted as an answer to the imaginary fascism of the Modi government. Her spirited speeches were granting her a larger space in parliamentary circles of Delhi, while Mamata is left lot handle an administratively failed state like West Bengal.
Mahua is emerging as a national face of TMC
Not just in parliament; Mahua has an exponentially high presence when it comes to Television debates. She has served as the general secretary and national spokesperson of her party for the past few years. During her regular debates on TV channels, she remains quite invigorating and presents a tougher challenge for the hosts to deal with. Although, an unparliamentarily behavior, her middle finger to Arnab Goswami got her special clout in Gunda elements dominated TMC party.
Not just media, parliament, she registers a frequent presence on social media as well
Mahua is a well-known figure on Twitter. Although Mamata has much more followers than her, she is not very Twitter-savvy. Unlike Mamata, Mahua is extremely aware of Twitter’s role in modern politics. Taking a leaf out of Barack Obama’s use of social media to increase the soft power, Mahua regularly posts personal as well as professional stuff on Twitter.
Mahua is a big threat to Abhishek Banerjee, Mamata’s unofficial political heir
Though Abhishek Banerjee, is not believed to be connected to the local cadre of TMC, Mahua is extremely popular among them. Similarly, being an investment banker and having served at top of the corporate structure, Mahua is far more experienced than him.
Mamata’s outburst against Mahua
Recently, Mamata Banerjee rained down heavily on Krishnanagar MP for allegedly creating a divide in the party. During an administrative review meeting of Nadia district on Thursday, TMC Supremo Mamata, to express her resentment, said, “…And Mahua, I want to give you a clear message. I don’t want to know who is against whom. To prepare one’s own set of people who will appear on YouTube, or digital medium, or newspaper paper – this kind of politics can last for one day, but not for long. There is no reason to believe that one stays in a position forever.”
Moving further, she also warned Moitra and asserted, “During elections, the party will decide who will contest and who will not. There should be no difference of opinion and everyone has to work together. I have the knowledge about everything.”
It is widely believed that patriarchs do not want to retire early, and they have an in-depth contempt for their replacements. Mamata Banerjee’s angst against Mahua shows that it’s not a gendered problem. Any aristocrat in the position of power does not want to accede their seat to an upcoming challenger. This holds especially true for an autocratic leader like Mamata.