Slogan war intensifies between, TMC and BJP ahead of polls

Slogan war intensifies between, TMC and BJP ahead of polls

Assembly election in West Bengal is going to be organised by April-May this year and the two major political parties are arming them with attractive slogan hitting the opponent.

The rise of the BJP-against a growing political perception that Mamata Banarjee is offering “undue appeasement of Muslim Voters – as an alternative in the BJP under Modi-Shah is giving the TMC’s disgruntled and disillusioned leaders to board a new ship ahead of possibly another watershed West Bengal Assembly election.

Following the BJP’s robust show in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, at least 17 TMC MLAs and two TMC MPs have joined the BJP. Four Left Front MLAs -three from the CPI-M and three from Congress also have joined the BJP.

Intensifying its ‘outsider’ charge against the BJP ahead of the state elections the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Saturday launched their election campaign for the upcoming Assembly election. The new slogan of their campaign is, “BANGLA NIJER MEYEKEI CHAY”, which means- BENGAL WANTS ITS OWN DAUGHTER portraying Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as the “daughter of Bengal. New hoardings of the slogan have been put up across Kolkata, with some also showing national icons.

Earlier in the day, the Trinamool Congress released a brief promotional video featuring Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the state map with slogans ‘Joy Bangla ‘and ‘Joy Trinamool’.

The slogan, which translates to “Bengal wants its own daughter”, also signals the transformation of Mamata Banerjee from her popular image of ‘didi’ (elder sister) to ‘nijer meye’ (own daughter). The slogan is also aimed at strengthening Mamata’s bond with women voters, who comprise nearly 49 percent of the electorate. The TMC supremo’s photo and the slogan, with cultural icons and famous Bengal landmarks in the backdrop, have been put up on hoardings across Kolkata.

The images range from Kolkata’s famous tram, iconic Howrah bridge, Dakhineshwar Kali temple, Rabindranath Tagore’s Shanti Niketan, royal Bengal tiger, pattachitra art, Bishnupur’s terracotta horses, and north Bengal’s tea plantations. Baul singers, Belur Math, Cooch Behar Palace, and rosogolla has also been depicted in the posters. was officially launched at the party’s headquarters off EM Bypass last week.

It also marks TMC’s shift from its slogan of “Maa, Mati, Manush” (mother, motherland, and people), which had turned out to be crucial for the party in reaching out to the masses before 2011 elections. The result was TMC ousting the Left Front government after 34 years in the state.

“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.

Earlier this month, in another attempt to boost their campaign, TMC had launched the ‘Didir Doot’ mobile application to connect people with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee via live streaming and video conferences. The application launched on February 4 has already crossed over one lakh downloads.

However, BJP thinks the TMC’s new message won’t work and claimed that the ruling party needed a new slogan as old ones have failed.

To counter the new slogan of TMC, Bengal BJP has released a video on their social media accounts re-creating the popular protest song ‘Bella Ciao’ but with a Bengali twist to the track that featured in the hit Netflix series Money Heist.

The lyrics of Bella Ciao have been changed to “Pishi Jaao” in Bengali that translates to “Aunty, leave,” in BJP’s message referred to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee.

The video that has been released along with the song features animated scenes with the lyrics illustrating the state of affairs in West Bengal, as perceived by BJP.

“Bangla e shudu, dangabaazi, o pishi jaao, pishi jaao, pishi jaao, jaao, jaao. Raasta behaal, bangla e aakal, pishi jaao, jaao, jaao, pishi jaao. Kano mitthe, mitther prochaar? Pishi jaao, jaao, jaao, pishi jaao (There are only riots in Bengal, aunty leave. Roads are in a bad state and so is Bengal. Aunty, leave. Why are you publicizing lies? Aunty, leave),” are the lyrics of the song in Bengali.

“#BanglaDidirThekeMuktiChay (Bengal needs freedom from Didi),” is the hashtag that BJP used in their post. Mamata Banerjee is often referred to as Didi (elder sister in Bengali) by her followers and as Pishi (paternal aunt in Bengali) by her critics.

Meanwhile, the video has gone viral on social media with over 19,000 views. It was released after the Trinamool Congress launched its slogan for the Assembly elections in West Bengal – ‘Bangla Nijer Meyekei Chaye’ (Bengal wants its own daughter), while portraying Mamata Banerjee as the “daughter of Bengal”.

“No slogan is working and they are trying to get their turf back. People are so fed up that they don’t want this daughter back. In the last ten years, atrocities against women have increased and Bengal is number 1 in the country when it comes to rapes. Industries have shut down and Bengal is number 1 in unemployment too. Because of the violence she has unleashed, no one wants this daughter,” said BJP leader Rahul Sinha.

However, it remains to be seen if TMC’s new slogan proves the BJP wrong and cuts ice with voters.

‘Khela hobe’ is another slogan that has become an intrinsic part of the day-to-day political vocabulary of the state, with all political parties using it.

But it was popularised in West Bengal by Trinamool Congress president of Birbhum district, Anubrata Mondal, who at a local political event said, “Khela hobe. Bhoyonkor khela hobe. Ei mati te khela hobe.” (The game is on. It will be a dangerous game. But the game is on and this will be the playground.)

BJP leaders have alleged that TMC leaders have merely borrowed a slogan that was first used in Bangladesh, but it is not clear if Mondal was aware of the coinage by Osman.

However, since Mondal’s first usage, the slogan has become an intrinsic part of the day-to-day political vocabulary of the state, with all political parties using it.

The slogan, through which leaders are challenging their opponents now, likens the political battlefield to a playground. It means this electoral battle has not been decided yet — there is a lot to fight for in these Assembly polls and only time will tell who has the last laugh.

TMC leaders across the state are using this slogan in political meetings and rallies to throw a direct challenge to the BJP ahead of the polls. The slogan has been turned into a song that is being played at political rallies of the ruling party.

The opening lines of the song play up the ‘insider-outsider’ theme — one of the hot topics of debate in Bengal ahead of the polls — and accuses the BJP of being ‘bargis’ who come on periodic political expeditions to the state: “Baire theke bargi ashe/Niyom kore proti mashe/Amio achi, tumio robe/Bondhu ebar khela hobe!” (Bargis come from outside/And visit the state every month/But you and I remain here/Friend, the game is on!)

Since the slogan became popular, TMC has been using it everywhere — from meetings and rallies to wall graffiti — as their political war cry. The BJP, in return, has also been using this slogan, either to assert that they have accepted the challenge or criticise TMC for its usage.

Recently speaking at an event being held on the occasion of ‘Language Day’, Chief Minister Banerjee also used the ‘khela hobe’ slogan. “The game is on and I will be the goalkeeper. Let’s see who wins. Election results will show who has the last laugh,” she said.

Responding to her, former Bengal minister Rajib Banerjee who has recently joined BJP, said, “What do they mean when they say the game is on? Is the field of politics a playground? And Mamata has nobody left and so she has to be the goalkeeper now.”