A BJP MLA from Tripura on Tuesday described Mamata Banerjee as the “real leader of Maa Mati Manush” (mother, land and people) of West Bengal and shaved his head at Kolkata’s famous Kalighat temple as an act of atonement for being associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party, triggering speculations about his next political move. Ashish Das also said if Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress supremo, becomes the prime minister in future, it will be a matter of pride for every Bengali.
Das, who represents the Surma(SC) seat in Dhalai district, claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had won the hearts of Indians during the 2014 Lok Sabha election with his inclusive growth model but faltered on his promises subsequently. He said he will start a “new political innings” but did not specify if he will quit the BJP. The legislator said he has some “personal work” in Kalighat, the area where Banerjee’s residence is located, on Tuesday.
The TMC has been eyeing Tripura after its landslide victory in the West Bengal assembly polls held earlier this year. It has launched an outreach campaign in the North-eastern state to dislodge the Biplab Kumar Deb helmed BJP government there in the 2023 assembly elections. “Mamata Banerjee has turned out to be the real leader of Maa Mati Manush. Her landslide victory in the recent Bhabanipur by-poll was another vindication of her immense popularity among the people of Bengal,” Das told reporters. ‘Maa Mati Manush’ is a pet slogan of the TMC. Banerjee won the Bhabanipur by-poll with a record margin of 58,835 votes. She needed to win the election to retain the chief minister’s chair.
Virtually endorsing the TMC’s claim regarding the significance of Banerjee’s victory in the by-election, Das said Bhabanipur voters have shown that they want Mamata Banerjee to helm the country one day. “The win has paved the way to her becoming the face of the opposition parties in the coming days,” he said. The Tripura MLA said despite having a glorious role in the freedom struggle, Bengal did not get the due recognition in the political arena in all these years.
“If Mamata didi becomes the PM, it will be justice for Bengalis and undo the wrong of decades. It will be a matter of pride for all Bengalis. Also after Indira Gandhi, a woman will wield the power in the country,” he said. Das shaved his head at the famous Kali temple at Kalighat in a ritual conducted by priests.
“This is my way to seek forgiveness for being associated with the BJP. After shaving my head, there will be a new beginning of my political innings,” he said. To a question on the alleged atrocities on opposition parties in Tripura, Das claimed both the Biplab Kumar Deb government and the BJP’s central leaders are responsible for that.
Das also criticised PM Modi for selling government stakes in PSUs and the unprecedented hike in fuel prices.