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regular-article-logo Sunday, 14 April 2024

Mamata Banerjee to lead march in Calcutta on March 7, bid to display women support for TMC

As the announcement of the march came within an hour of PM Narendra Modi's scathing attack on the ruling establishment in Bengal on Friday over atrocities against women in Sandeshkhali, it is clear Trinamul is trying to counter the saffron narrative that women are not safe in the TMC regime

Snehamoy Chakraborty Calcutta Published 02.03.24, 12:01 PM
Irrigation minister Partha Bhowmick and officials on way to examine damaged agricultural land in Sandeshkhali.

Irrigation minister Partha Bhowmick and officials on way to examine damaged agricultural land in Sandeshkhali. Picture by Pashupati Das

Mamata Banerjee will lead a march of women from different communities in Calcutta on March 7, on the eve of the International Women's Day, in a show of strength aimed at sending out a message that women are firmly behind the Trinamul Congress.

As the announcement of the march came within an hour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's scathing attack on the ruling establishment in Bengal on Friday over atrocities against women in Sandeshkhali, it is clear Trinamul is trying to counter the saffron narrative that women are not safe in the Trinamul regime.

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"All India Trinamul Mahila Congress, the party's women's wing, will organise a massive rally with over 30,000 women walking along with the chief minister in Calcutta on March 7. She is likely to address the gathering after the march, where she will highlight how the state government has been trying to empower women in Bengal," said a source close to the chief minister.

"She will also, in all likelihood, compare the situation in Bengal with some BJP-ruled states like UP and Manipur, where the condition of women is far worse than in Bengal," added the source.

According to the source, the march will start from College Square and end at Dorina Crossing after covering a 1.9km stretch. The participants in the rally will carry posters and flexes on different flagship schemes for women — like Lakhsmir Bhandar, Rupashree and Kanyashree — that the Mamata Banerjee government introduced after coming to power in Bengal.

"The preparation for the massive rally is underway. We have a plan to bring women from different communities and religions to showcase how our party and government have been working for the overall well-being of women in the state," the leader said.

A source in Trinamul said organising the women's rally on March 7 — a day after Modi will address a meeting in Barasat where some women from Sandeshkhali are likely to be present to share stories of Trinamul's alleged atrocities — was politically significant as it would give Mamata a chance to rebut the charges that Modi and the saffron ecosystem were levelling against her government.

Modi's second rally in Bengal in the first week of March will be held at Krishnanagar in Nadia district on Saturday.

"Women form a core support base of the Trinamul.... It is well established that an overwhelming proportion of women voters showered their love on Didi, which ensured our sweeping victory in the 2021 Assembly polls. The BJP is trying to snatch away women voters from us by creating a false narrative. Didi will give a befitting reply," said a source.

On Friday, Modi tried his best to attack the Mamata government over the alleged harassment of women in Sandeshkhali by Trinamul leaders like Sheikh Shahjahan and his cronies.

"What the TMC has done to the sisters of Sandeshkhali is a matter of shame...," Modi said.

Trinamul did not waste time in fielding senior leaders to counter Modi's attack over Sandeshkhali.

"While the Prime Minister has been shedding his tears for Sandeshkhali, he did not do the same in the case (brutality on women) of Manipur, in the case of Hathras and Unnao (in Uttar Pradesh). He came to Bengal for election campaigns and that is why he is shedding crocodile tears now...," said Bengal finance minister Chandrima Bhattacharya, who is also the state president of Trinamul's women's wing.

Trinamul also activated its social media groups to counter the other charges — like corruption in welfare schemes and teachers' recruitments — that Modi pressed on the ruling party in Bengal.

"PM @narendramodi, we don't see you much in Parliament, so now that you are in my home State today, may I ask you two Qs. Please. Q1. Where are the funds for 59 lakh MGNREGA workers? Q2. Where are the houses of 11.36 lakh Awas beneficiaries?," Rajya Sabha member Derek O'Brien wrote in his X handle.

Trinamul's official X handle also went after Modi on the issue of corruption as it suggested how the BJP had taken corrupt leaders — like Suvendu Adhikari — under its fold following which the central agencies stopped investigations against them.

"PM @narendramodi would never suspend the corrupt @SuvenduWB, but he'd visit Bengal & take photos together," AITC official handle posted this prediction that O'Brien had made on February 29 and juxtaposed it with a video from Modi's meeting on Friday.

"Mar 1: At Arambag's meeting, the PM was caught cozying up to Adhikari the Scammer Birds of the same feather indeed flock together!" it added, questioning the veracity of Modi's claim that he would fight against corruption.

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