Book Review: Mamata Beyond 2021

Election strategist Prashant Kishor is credited with crafting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s strategy for the Assembly elections in the eastern state in 2021. However, his early thoughts on the engagement of Kishor to help with the Trinamool Congressional election plan wouldn’t have been music to sound the ears of an expert, according to a new book.

Veteran journalist Jayanta Ghosal, who has followed Mamata’s political rise over the years, writes in his book ‘Mamata Beyond 2021’ that the first time the Trinamool supremo met Kishor was in Patna and the he occasion was the formation of the Mahagathbandhan government which included the JD(U), RJD and Congress in 2015.

The book, originally written in Bengali, was translated into English by Arunava Sinha.

“On the day of Nitish Kumar’s tea party, Kishor and Mamata had their first personal chat on the sidelines, seated in white velvet-wrapped throne-like chairs. That night, however, Mamata said, “It’s very good to talk to him, but we never commercially engaged an organization. Trinamool is a party of the poor.””

However, Mamata’s nephew and Trinamool general secretary, Abhishek Banerjee, considered the party’s number two, later chatted with Kishor. “Having lived and studied in Delhi for a long time, Abhishek is very knowledgeable about political strategies at the national level. He felt that Trinamool would have to use the same weapons as his opponents to defeat them. The rest, as they say, is history,” writes Ghosal.

According to Ghosal, it was with Kishor’s help that Mamata devised a clear strategy to counter the BJP’s push in the assembly elections. “Just as the perception of Mahatma Gandhi that existed in his time would not have been possible without his distinctive attire, Mamata Banerjee also built brand equity of being the Bengal girl with her rubber sandals and humble lodging. “, he writes.

The book, as its title suggests, examines Mamata’s plans beyond winning the 2021 election in West Bengal. According to Ghosal, while Mamata is keen to expand outside his home state, his main aim would be to reclaim all 18 of the 42 seats the BJP won in the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Furthermore, the Trinamool is not expected to pursue party veteran Mukuk Roy’s earlier ambitious program of nationwide expansion. “Instead of going to big states like Uttar Pradesh like Mukul Roy had done, Abhishek Banerjee is taking small steps to states like Goa, Tripura and, later, Assam. a euphoric and unrealistic expansion plan for Trinamool, the focus is on gradually making Mamata Banerjee acceptable as a national alternative to Narendra Modi,” writes Ghosal.

According to him, Mamata will go on tour in various states, but not necessarily to organize political rallies. Instead, she will participate in civil society conclaves, meet with public intellectuals, dialogue with students and join programs run by industrial society, he writes.

Title: Mamata beyond 2021

Author: Jayanta Ghosal

Editor: Harper Collins

Price: Rs.599

Pages: 233

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