Kolkata: Facing a resurgent BJP as the main challenger in the upcoming assembly polls, West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress on Saturday unveiled a poll slogan- “Bangla Nijer Meyekei Chaye”, portraying Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as its mascot with focus on women voters and Bengali sub-nationalism.
The slogan, which translates to ‘Bengal wants its own daughter’, presents the transformation from her popular image of ‘didi’ (elder sister) to ‘Nijer Meye’ (own daughter), was officially launched at the party’s headquarters off EM Bypass.
Party sources said that the slogan aims at reaching out to the women voters, who comprise nearly 49 per cent of an estimated 7 crore electorate.
The slogan is also expected to further sharpen the party’s focus on the Bengali sub-nationalism and its repeated instances on “insider versus outsider” debate, in a bid to counter frequent visits by senior BJP leaders from outside the state for poll campaigning.
The BJP, however, claimed that the ruling party needed a new slogan as old ones have failed. The TMC supremo’s photo along with the slogan was put up on hoardings across Kolkata.
“The people of the state want their own daughter who has been by their side for the last several years as their chief minister. We don’t want outsiders to call the shots in Bengal,” TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said. The TMC is engaged in a bitter political fight with the BJP and projects the opposition party’s leaders as outsiders on “election tourism” to the state.
“This change from Didi to Nijer Meye aims to strengthen the connection with women voters on the one hand, and on the other hand, it also smacks of Bengali sub- nationalism. It projects Banerjee as the daughter of Bengal, someone who is our own, while branding the BJP as a party of outsiders,” political analyst Biswanath Chakraborty said.
The feisty TMC boss shares a special bond with the women voters of the state since the 1980s when she made her debut in electoral politics, political observers said.
“The upcoming election is not a big factor for the Trinamool Congress. The entire country is watching how the Constitution can be protected, and the outcome of the polls will prove that,” TMC’s Rajya Sabha MP Subrata Bakshi said. He said the chief minister has already a submitted a report card of the work done in the last 10 years to the people of the state. “Which state has done so much? None,” Bakshi claimed.
The BJP, however, mocked the slogan and claimed that the people of the state want freedom from her. “What happened to other slogans that the TMC had earlier launched? All seem to have failed. Now they are presenting this new drama,” BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said.
The TMC’s slogan of “Bodla Noy Bodol Chai” (Don’t want revenge but change), ahead of the 2011 polls had turned out to be crucial in reaching out to the masses who toppled the Left Front government after 34 years in the state. The slogan, of “Chup Chap Fuley Chap” (vote for TMC in silence) is also considered iconic during the Left rule.
However, “Ma, Mati, Manush” (mother, land and people) — the slogan Banerjee gave during the anti-land acquisition agitation of the mid-2000s became the party’s ideology, helping it win rural Bengal along with the urban areas, election after election.