For Authentic Gossip
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Is It Gita Jayanti Celebration Or BJP’s Lok Sabha Poll Campaign Launch For West Bengal?

BJP is set to prepare a centre stage at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground for Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of Gita Jayanti Celebration on December 24. It is apparent that the programme is the initiative of various organizations of the Sangh Parivar, yet the official organiser is Akhil Bharatiya Sanskrit Parishad. Several functionaries of the organisation including central committee member of Vishva Hindu Parishad, Swami Nirgunananda Maharaj met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 17, officially inviting him to attend the programme. Over lakhs of monks across several Sanatan Hindu organisations such as Bharat Sevashram Sangha and others will be chanting Gita Sotras to mark the occasion named ‘Laksh Kante Gitapath’ (Gita Chants by Lakh Voices). The organisers along with BJP Bengal president Sukanta Majumdar presented the PM with the official invite on a silver plaque with Devnagari script written in copper. Manas Bhattacharya, member of the organising committee says that the PM has expressed his desire to chant Gita Sotras along with the monks. Even the President Draupadi Murmu has confirmed her presence. Claiming it to be a non-political event, Bhattacharya informed that they will also invite West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee as the chief guest and other MPs and MLAs of the state across political parties. It may seem a non-political event but BJP will not let lose the opportunity to use the platform to drive home its Hindutva agenda in Bengal ahead of 2024 general elections.

Didi Claims Party Members Not-Guilty And Vows Revenge Against BJP

In several months after some of her prominent party leaders were arrested for their alleged involvement in scams, West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee in her first public endorsement not only stood by them but made it categorical that she will also apply the same tactics of arrests against BJP leaders. Reinstating her faith in party’s Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra in the eye of the storm in the “cash-for-query” case, Didi stated that it is the ploy of BJP to “oust Mahua ” from the Parliament. According to her, this would end up boosting the popularity and electoral prospects of the TMC MP, one of the Adani group’s fiercest critics. Interestingly, Didi named four arrested TMC leaders — Partha Chatterjee, Manik Bhattacharya, Anubrata Mondal and Jyotipriyo Mallick – and said they were not-guilty of money laundering in teacher’s recruitment scam, cattle smuggling scam and ration distribution scam. Sending a warning to BJP, Didi vowed to make it a revenge game by arresting eight BJP leaders with cases of criminal offenses. As a much needed step amid increasing allegations of scam against party leaders, TMC’s meeting at Netaji Indoor Stadium was to boost the morale of party members. BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Suvendu Adhikari threatened to lodge an FIR against the chief minister for her comments to arrest “eight BJP leaders” in an act of “tit-for-tat”.

Family Members Of Bangladesh Poet Seek Didi’s Intervention In AR Rahman’s ‘Pippa’ Song Controversy

Family members of Bangladesh revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam living in India and Bangladesh came together in Kolkata to condemn the “distorted” AR Rahman rendition of Nazrul’s patriotic song Karar Oi Louho Kopat in the war biopic Pippa. The song was written by Islam in 1922 as a rousing nationalist anthem against the British Raj. It is learnt, a section of the family including Kazi Arindam, the poet’s younger grandson, and Khilkhil Kazi, Nazrul’s Dhaka-based granddaughter are likely to move the court against another family member — poet’s eldest grandson Anirban Kazi. Both claimed that Anirban signed as a witness to the “supposed contract” for the song’s adaptation and recreation license forged between Kalyani Kazi, Nazrul’s daughter-in-law, and the producers of the film in September 2021 in exchange for Rs 2 lakhs. Incidentally, Kalyani passed away in May 2023. Moreover, the copyrights of Nazrul’s works, currently held by the poet’s legal heirs, would expire in 2036. Khilkhil Kazi, who flew from Dhaka is one of the trustees of Nazrul Board of Bangladesh which permits artists to use Nazrul Giti in productions. The protesting family members have demanded immediate removal of the song from the movie and all digital platforms. To avoid such recurrence, both Arindam and Khilkhil Kazi have sought intervention from the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. They have requested Didi to set up a Nazrul Board of West Bengal, which will be represented by Arindam Kazi on behalf of the poet’s family to look into these copyright matters.
dilip ghosh

Former BJP State President In WB Dilip Ghosh Sidelined By Party

In a recent turn of events, the once powerful former BJP state president and Kharagpur Sadar MP Dilip Ghosh finds himself totally sidelined by his party. Apparently, his room at the party’s headquarters and also the main auditorium were put under locks. A few days back when he visited the party headquarters, he found that AC from his room had been removed. However, state functionaries dismisses these incidents saying it could be because the state party office has been shifted to the Salt Lake Sector V and the IT cell is under renovation. However, Ghosh’s close associates claim that ‘Dilipda’ was never informed of such a change. Party sources say that the state unit was immensely displeased with Ghosh’s decision to hold ‘Vijaya Sammelan’ after Durga Puja without taking permission from the state functionaries. This resulted in the decision that the party office in central Kolkata would not be opened for anyone without the permission of state president Sukanta Majumder. This is the second time Ghosh faces action from the party high command. In July this year he was removed from the position of National Vice President. Ghosh’s sidelining started after his initial attempt to ‘be friends’ with Majumder was thwarted and their statewide tour was mysteriously cancelled. It further worsened due to his regular criticisms of top leaders in the state unit.
Roshini mukherjee

Indian-Origin Banker Turned Entrepreneur Wins UK Award For Empowering Women In India

Making her country and community proud is Roshini Mukerjee, senior banker-turned- fashion entrepreneur living in the UK for close to two decades. This Indian-British entrepreneur was awarded — Women in Business: Empowering Other Women in India. Roshni is the founder of the brand Myosutra which promises to bring forth culture to couture on sarees to bridge both worlds of Europe and Bengal. She was awarded at the Indo-UK Business meet in the Palaces of Westminster hosted by MP Bob Blackman. She received the award from MP Dean Russel. This is also a recognition of her drive, determination, and vision of entrepreneurship in the UK. Myosutra which was established in 2017 offers handpicked exclusive Bengal Handlooms where each piece is an artwork that reflects both worlds of Europe and Bengal. By setting up this business she has ensured women who suffer domestic violence find both solace and solution and in the process are empowered. Her unconditional love for the Indian craftsmanship has translated into Myosutra promoting Indian ethnic wear like sarees, kurtas, dhotis and accessories. Roshini has been making a conscious effort to showcase Bengal. Her aim is to uplift the women weavers of Bengal and also to make Indian culture and tradition more accessible to the British Indians, the British Asians and the British community.

Pradeep Bhattacharya and Sujan Chakraborty

Mahua Moitra Gets Unexpected Support From CPI (M) And Congress

At a time when the Ethics Committee of the Parliament gave its stamp on the recommendation to dismiss Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Maitra from parliamentary position in the case of exchange of money, the parliamentarian has got support not only from the second in command of the party – TMC National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee, but also from the arch rivals the CPI(M) and Congress. However, BJP MLA and Opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari is not satisfied with that and claims that Mahua has done anti-national work and must be jailed. Taking a dig at the TMC leader who represents Krishnanagar constituency, Adhikari was categorical in stating that her membership is only a matter of time and people want such fraudulent MPs to go to jail. However, for the first time since the issue sparked, Abhishek stood by Mahua stating that the firebrand leader is “competent enough to fight her own battles”. Interestingly, veteran Congress leader Pradeep Bhattacharya stood by Mahua saying that he is doubtful about the logic behind the decision by majority. He further suggested Mahua should approach the court if possible. Echoing similar views, CPI(M) State Committee member Sujan Chakraborty said, ‘It was not understood how a person could be expelled at the same time be investigated upon by CBI. The ethics committee takes a different role arbitrarily. This activity of the Ethics Committee was not seen after allegations were raised against BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri in the Lok Sabha.”

Tollywood Gets New Genre Actor-Turned-Producers

The growing trend of Bengali Tollywood is that several actors turn producers in order to compete with the OTT creative works that have gained immense popularity post Covid pandemic. From superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee, Jeet, Dev to parallel actors Parambrata Chattopadhyay, starlet duo Bonny Sengupta and Koushani Mukherjee and several others have started their own production houses. Majority of the actor-turned-producers have pointed out that their production ventures are mainly to explore themselves as actors in varied subjects and roles. According to Jeet, Grassroot Entertainment’ and Jeetz Filmworks focus mainly on commercial blockbusters with Jeet in the lead. It can be recalled that after establishing himself as a heartthrob of Bengali movies Dev set up his own production, Dev Entertainment Ventures which has produced Projapati, Tonic, Kishmish, Bagha Jatin and Durgo Rahasya. As Dev points out, it is important to do good content and establish oneself as an actor after having a good stint as a hero. However, Parambrata identifies that content is the only thing that matters to him the most. This cerebral actor established his first production house Workshop Productions in 2011 along with colleague actor Rudranil Ghosh but had to close it down. Now, with directors Aritra Sen and Supriyo Sen he has started Roadshow Films. Veteran Actor Prosenjit’s production house, NIDEAS Creations and Productions is giving opportunities to newcomers while Bonny and Koushani had to launch BK Entertainments only to break free from being typecast in romantic movies. 
JP nadda amit

Will Shah-Nadda Personally Oversee Bengal In 2024 General Elections?

In an attempt to make a dent in West Bengal ahead of 2024 General Elections speculations are rife that the Union home minister Amit Shah and BJP National President Jagat Prakash Nadda are likely to take joint charge of the organisation of Bengal. According to sources, the state BJP has already been informed by the central leadership about the proposed arrangement. Moreover, during Shah’s recent visit to inaugurate Durga Puja Pandal of Santosh Mitra Square, he had categorically said, “I will come to Bengal regularly and will also talk about politics.” Echoing Shah, Nadda stated the same, mentioning that the BJP will ensure a corruption free Bengal. However, sources mentioned that continued internal feud in the Bengal BJP unit has resulted in these statements. There have been agitations, riots, clashes outside the party’s head office in Kolkata protesting the role of state leadership. Cadres tore district leaders and state president Sukanta Majumder’s posters. In separate incidents, two BJP MPs from Bengal face protests in their home turf. While Malda Uttar MP Khagen Murmu faced protests from villagers displaced by erosion, Union Minister of State Subhas Sarkar was locked at the party office by BJP supporters protesting his interference in appointments. Recently, old guards of state BJP have floated BJP Bachao Manch, and have taken to the path of agitation expressing their strong distrust of the role of the current state leadership. These incidents have left the central leadership extremely displeased with the state unit.

Didi Resumes Office Amid State Minister Arrest And Tata Nano Verdict

West Bengal Chief minister Mamata Banerjee returned to her office at Nabanna after one and half months due to her knee problem. Didi last visited her office on September 11 before she went to Spain and Dubai. She returned to Kolkata on September 23 and was forced to visit SSKM Superspeciality Hospital for knee problems. That’s when doctors advised her to rest. Since then, Didi has been working from home. As a result she was forced to ‘virtually’ inaugurate several Durga Puja pandals this year. On October 27, she went in person to attend the Durga Puja carnival at Red Road. Her government is under pressure — facing the twin blows of the arrest of her senior cabinet minister Jyotipriya Mallick in the ration distribution scam and Tata Motors winning the Singur case against the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation. The arbitral tribunal has directed the West Bengal government to pay Rs 766 crore with interest to the automobile giant since they were forced to shelve the Nano project in 2008. TMC is weighing options to challenge the verdict.
Mamata Balu

Trinamool’s Tryst With ED, One More Didi’s Close Minister Arrested

With Durga puja revelry coming to an end, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress government received a jolt after one of its heavyweight ministers Jyotipriya Mallick was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with “ration distribution scam”.  Mallick, commonly called Balu, received Didi’s support when she addressed the media at her residence and accused the BJP of targeting TMC in West Bengal and termed the raid as ‘vendetta politics’ ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Interestingly, the arrest comes after Union Home Minister Amit Shah who visited Kolkata on the occasion of inauguration of one of the prestigious city puja pandals, claimed that the Central government will end corruption in Bengal. Incidentally, ED and CBI have arrested couple of arrests of TMC heavyweight leaders: Partha Chatterjee (Jul 2022), Anubrata Mondal (Aug 2022), Manik Battacharjee (Oct 2022), Jibonkrishna Saha (Apr 2023) and few more youth leaders in Teacher’s Recruitment Scam and Cattle Smuggling Scam. Recently, ED raided another Didi’s man and minister Firhad Hakim’s in the Municipal Recruitment Scam. There have been multiple summons to Didi’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira by the ED.  West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, CPI(M) state member Sujan Chakraborty, and BJP State President Sukanta Majumder squarely blamed the chief minister for the high level of corruption in the state.
bengal show

Bengali TV Soaps Witness Shrinking Shelf-Life; Courtesy OTT’s Original Series

At a time when Bengali TV soap operas are paving way for budding actors and actresses, it is also becoming a trend that these are going off air before the end of their contractual run. Gone are those days of mega serials such as Janoni and Janmobhumi longest-run in Doordarshan Bangla during the 90s. Even with the advent of private satellite channels — Subarnolata in Zee Bangla, Sreemoyee in Star Jalsa witnessed a shelf-life of 4-5 years. However, few shows make it past the 100-episode these days, making it difficult for TV networks and producers to break even. Incidentally, as consumption is shifting to OTT platforms, seasoned producers and networks are keen on the new format of ‘TV orginals’ made on a comparatively less budget than that of an episode for a TV serial. In recent times several noted serials such as Balijhor, Ekka Dokka, Guddi from Star Jalsa and Mukut, Icche Putul, Khelna Bari from Zee Bangla have witnessed abrupt endings. Many of these are run by noted producers — Leena Gangopadhyay and Saibal Banerjee owned Magic Moments Motion Pictures, Blues Production by Snehashis Chakraborty, Arka Ganguly of Organic Studios production house. Significantly, Leena is creating for Star Plus, where her popular serial Jol Nupur to be made in Hindi. Chakraborty admitted that the number of successful shows has gone down drastically and hence many are now targeting Hindi channels. His own serial Sarbajaya – helmed by celebrated Bengali actress Debashree Roy was remade in Odiya.  

CPM Cadres Resentment May See Sitaram Yechury Skip Foundation Day Event In Kolkata

Amid I.N.D.I.A Bloc meetings that resulted in disgruntlement among the lower ranks of CPM, party’s general secretary Sitaram Yechury will be skipping the Foundation Day programme of the party in Bengal. The party’s politburo member and former general secretary Prakash Karat will be the main speaker at the event to be held on October 17 at party’s district office Pramod Dasgupta Bhavan in Kolkata. The development comes after the anti-BJP alliance at the all-India level began to unravel in June last year. Yechury’s photo with Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee in all the I.N.D.I.A meetings sparked outrage among the Bengal CPM grassroot cadres. Incidentally, the state CPM also had to take special programmes to mitigate that anger. Coincidentally, Yechury has not come to the state for any program since the controversy erupted. However, he is in charge of the party in Bengal on behalf of the Politburo. He also skipped two state committee meetings that were held between June and October this year, a central rally by farmers’ and farm workers’ organizations held in Kolkata on 31 August. Now the question is, is Bengal CPM not ‘consciously’ bringing Yechury to the state? Or is Yechury waiting for the situation to calm down? It is learnt that he is likely to attend the state CPM’s extended committee programme in Howrah between November 3-5.
mamata hakim

Why Is Didi’s Close Aide Firhad Hakim Under CBI-ED Scanner

The CBI raid at the Mayor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Firhad Hakim’s house over his alleged involvement in the municipal recruitment scam, has once again raised questions about the overdrive of the Central agencies against the non-BJP ruled states’ politicians. Hakim, a cabinet minister of the state urban and municipal affairs department, is the first Muslim to become Kolkata mayor since Independence. Popularly known as Bobby da, he is one of the closest associates of the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. Hakim has been under scanner of the CBI-ED for his alleged involvement in 2016 Narada sting operation case and municipal recruitment scam. Surprisingly, there has been no statement issued by TMC condemning the raid. And this is attributed to Hakim’s differences with Didi’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee on several issues such as opposing Abhishek’s proposal of not giving tickets to old guards during the municipal polls in 2022. Even Hakim’s removal as the chairman of the Furfura Sharif Development Board post-Sagardighi bypoll defeat was done at the behest of Abhishek. Also, a recent rollback of a civic decision by Didi at the behest of her nephew indicates Hakim’s wings are being clipped. The question everybody within the party is asking, whether Didi will continue to handhold Hakim like she still does for jailed associate Anubrata Mondal or let her nephew have the way.
Saurav ganuly


Sourav Ganguly Clears Air About His Political Ambitions

After being hounded by politicians and trolled on social media about his recent visit to Spain along with the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly said that his identity as an individual gets him invited by everybody. Speaking during the promotional event of former Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan’s soon-to-be-released biopic in Kolkata, Sourav made it clear about his political neutrality. He stated that since he was neither an MP nor a MLA or a Corporator he was at liberty to attend any political parties function; hence was not answerable to anyone. But, what gave grist to the rumour mills is his official trip to Spain with Didi and her team to attract investments in business and sports sectors. Dada announced that a steel plant would be set up in Salboni, West Midnapore, which would be an extension of an existing sponge iron factory manufacturing TMT bars in which he holds a stake. Dada who has been endorsing numerous brands has been recently roped in as the brand ambassador of BJP-led Tripura Government’s Tourism Department. It may be recalled that just before the assembly elections in West Bengal in 2021, Union home minister Amit Shah had visited Dada’s residence. As of now Dada is very clear that he does not want to align with any political party, at least openly. But, everybody knows of his proximity to the former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and CPI (M).

Will Panchayat Verdict Torpedo Trinamool’s Prospect In 2024 General Election?

There is a sense of apprehension within top leadership of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) about the number of seats they may win in the 2024 general elections. This fear follows a setback for TMC in 2019 general elections even after winning the 2018 Panchayat elections hands down. TMC lost several seats in North Bengal; it won 22 Lok Sabha which was a decline from its 2014 record of 34 seats. Incidentally, in the 2023 Panchayat elections too, TMC recorded a landslide victory. The bone of contention it seems is that most of its candidates won unopposed in 2023 — a similar thing happened in 2018. But the public did not take it lightly, it was angry that TMC did not allow opposition candidates to file their nominations vis a vis contest the elections. Result, their anger manifested in terms of BJP winning a record number of 18 LS seats in 2019 from its previous record of two seats. In the words of a state leader of the ruling party, “No level of public representation should be opposed, as it indicates lack of transparency and this gives an extra edge to the Opposition, especially the BJP.” However, a section of TMC leaders like Alipurduar District Trinamool President Prakash Chik Baraik and Purulia District Trinamool President Soumen Belthoria feel that it’s Didi’s pro-people policy in North Bengal that the party gained grounds in Panchayat elections.
Mamata ultimatum

Didi Gives Ultimatum To Congress, Decide Between TMC And CPI (M) In West Bengal

Following the Mumbai meeting of the I.N.D.I.A., Trinamool Congress has unofficially informed Congress High Command that it will have to decide its ‘friends’ in West Bengal. TMC sources said that the message to the Congress is quite clear that it must choose between the party with a possible 30 LS seats, and the Left with no seats. TMC sources added that it has been conveyed to Congress that if it decides to join hands with the Trinamool, two seats — Baharampur and Maldaha Dakshin would be left to them. At present these two seats are held by Congress with Bengal Congress Chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury winning from Baharampur and veteran leader Abhu Hasem Khan Chowdhury from Maldaha Dakshin. Moreover, TMC will not object if Congress wants to give one to the CPI(M). However, Pradesh Congress sources termed this as the arrogance of party supremo Mamata Banerjee. Incidentally, a senior leader of TMC stated that during the alliance meeting, Didi has made it categorical that specific terms should be followed in the states which do not have alliance. The seat sharing must be decided on the basis of last Lok Sabha seats won, the results of the last Vidhan Sabha polls, three, the results of the last Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha polls combined. Incidentally, there will be no hassle for 250 seats across the country, remaining seats will have to be decided among various I.N.D.I.A partners.

Is CPI(M) Hesitant To Join The I.N.D.I.A Coordination Committee?

A tough road lies ahead of CPI(M) Politburo at its two-day meeting between September 16 and 17, where it will decide upon its representation at the I.N.D.I.A Coordination Committee. Out of a 14-member committee as decided by the Bloc, the 14th one remained vacant when the first meeting of the committee was held at NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar’s house in New Delhi on September 13 since CPI(M) is yet to give its representation. However, it is known that party’s general secretary Sitaram Yechury met Pawar the day after the meeting and discussed the alliance. According to party insiders, the central committee of the CPI(M) held a meeting after the I.N.D.I.A Bloc’s Benguluru meeting, but no name was proposed for the coordination committee representation. Instead, there’s a divide of views where a section of senior leaders feel that the party should refrain from being a part of the committee, another section feels that it should take time to decide upon a name. However, central committee member Shamik Lahiri informed that the name will be finalised in the Politburo meeting itself. Interestingly, some of the leaders from the Bengal unit said that it is difficult for the Politburo to finalize the name by bypassing the Central Committee. In that case, a new debate may be created within the party, at a time when cadres are questioning the party’s decision to be a part of Trinamool Congress ally.
bangla diwas

Bengal Gets “Bangla Divas”, But Tussle Continues Over Dates

West Bengal gets its identity day or “Bangla Divas” in a resolution passed by the West Bengal State Assembly. Mamata Banerjee government ratified the resolution to celebrate “Bangla Divas” on Poila Baisakh, the first day of the Bengali calendar. The Assembly also passed the resolution declaring Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s composition “Banglar Mati Banglar Jol,” as the state song. Amid protest from the Opposition BJP, the resolutions were passed by 167-62 votes. The BJP legislators voted against the treasury bench resolutions. Incidentally, the Central government earlier this year issued a notification to celebrate June 20 as Poshchim Banga divas. Subsequently, the day was celebrated at the Raj Bhavan by Governor CV Ananda Bose here which led to a strong opposition from Didi. However, according to the Chief Minister, celebrating June 20 as Paschim Banga Divas was a “distortion of history” since the day also marks the division of undivided Bengal. Meanwhile, Opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari and other BJP legislators protested against the resolution and marched to Raj Bhavan where they submitted a memorandum to the Governor. While Didi has made it categorical that it does not matter to her government whether the Governor ratifies the date or not since it is a resolution not a bill, Adhikari maintained that since President Draupadi Murmu wished people of Bengal on June 20, it makes the official date to celebrate Bengal’s resurgence.
Sitaram Yechury

CPI (M) Cadres Want No Truck With Didi’s Party In West Bengal

At a time when the I.N.D.I.A front is slowly progressing towards its goal of an united Opposition, Bengal CPI(M) unit finds it extremely difficult to contain the cadres and their questions about the party’s stand.  Recently, the Bengal unit undertook workshops across the districts to work towards anti-BJP campaigns in coming months. However, the district leadership faced a volley of questions mostly pertaining to party’s secretary Sitaram Yechury’s stage sharing with arch rival — Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee. Sources at CPI(M) said that the cadres have not only expressed their discontent over the association with TMC but raised several questions. A section of cadres have questioned whether the party will be allying with TMC in the 2024 Lok Sabha election on the basis of the formula that everyone should support the party in their pockets of influence. If not then what would be the campaign process? Some have even questioned if Congress High Command asks the Pradesh Congress to ally with the TMC, will Bengal CPI(M) continue to hold hands with Congress or go alone.  It is becoming increasingly difficult to defend the ant-TMC stand within CPI(M).  The most significant question of the cadres was whether the party would support the government formed by the I.N.D.I.A. which will have Didi as one of the key players.
Mamata Rahul Sonia

I.N.D.I.A Meet: Will Congress Agree To Didi’s Seat-Sharing Formula?

In their third meeting in Mumbai, the main focus of the Opposition front I.N.D.I.A will be over seat sharing, based on the formula floated by Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee. Didi has stated that the party which is strongest will contest the state and the specific seats. According to Congress sources, in West Bengal the Congress High Command is counting on Didi to decide on the seat sharing of 42 Lok Sabha seats. Insiders have also mentioned that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have no objection to the proposal. Incidentally, in 2019 Lok Sabha Polls, Congress won only two seats in Bengal with Bengal Congress Chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury winning from Baharampur and veteran leader Abhu Hasem Khan Chowdhury from Maldaha Dakshin. Moreover, political analysts believe that the TMC supremo might think of restricting Congress in those two seats, but Congress insiders say that the High Command may seek for six more seats. Interestingly, Chowdhury seems to have softened his stand on TMC. He further stated that Congress will be maintaining its relationship with TMC and CPI(M) at the national and state levels respectively. Meanwhile, the third meeting of the Grand Alliance will be held in Mumbai on August 31 and September 1, besides seat sharing, discussions will also focus on EVMs. Two more alliance meetings are scheduled before Diwali.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdray

Congress Upset Over Adhir’s Suspension From Lok Sabha, No Protests From TMC

At the debate in the Parliament over no-confidence motion, the Leader of the Opposition Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury faced some uncomfortable moments when both the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah taunted him in their speeches. They called the West Bengal Pradesh Congress chief, a hapless leader “ignored by Congress high command” and also took a jibe saying he was not on the list of speakers as the Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee called Gandhis to keep him away from it. There was more when Modi-Shah claimed this Congress MP is under ‘CPM’s torture’. Interestingly, Modi referred to several Opposition leaders who spearheaded No Confidence Motion against ruling governments such as Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1998, 2003 by Sharad Pawar and Sonia Gandhi), himself (2018 by Mallikarjun Kharge). However, Adhir Ranjan did speak on the third day ahead of PM, but was suspended for comparing Modi with Mahabharata’s blind king Dhritrashtra, fugitive businessman Nirav Modi and for his repeated misconduct. In Rajya Sabha, Kharge raised the issue over Adhir’s suspension and in Kolkata demonstrations were held. Sonia Gandhi also called for an emergency meeting to discuss Adhir’ suspension. Meanwhile senior TMC leadership remained tight-lipped on the development, despite party insiders saying that there was nothing wrong in Adhir’s statement. It may be noted that Adhir’s extreme opposition to Mamata made Didi ask her party leaders not to speak on the issue.  Adhir will remain suspended till the privileges committee takes a decision.

Cracks In I.N.D.I.A In West Bengal As CPI(M) Backs Off

Ahead of the third meeting of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A) in Mumbai later this month, CPI(M) State Committee had made it clear to the Central Committee that the party will not allow the formula in Bengal, refusing to join alongside Trinamool Congress Supremo Mamata Banerjee. Despite being one of the principal members of I.N.D.I.A, the State Committee stated that it will field candidates against the TMC in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, even at a time when both the parties view BJP as a ‘common enemy’. During the recent three-day central committee meeting, strong interventions from Bengal leaders against an alliance with the TMC citing atrocities unleashed by the ruling party workers against Marxist cadres. A central committee member from Bengal has also pointed out that the Bengal unit has put forth that party general secretary Sitaram Yechury’s recent stage sharing with Didi and exchanging pleasantries with her made bad optics and demoralised party cadres in Bengal. Party insiders claimed that Yechury acceded to the wishes of the Bengal leaders and said that Bengal unit will be free to field candidates against the TMC in all constituencies. Sources said, State Committee Secretary Mohammad Salim has categorically mentioned that the CPI(M) has made its stand clear and now it is the Congress that will decide on Bengal. However, the communist party is still open to continuing with its alliance with Congress.
Adhir Ranjan chowdhury

Will Cong Replace Its West Bengal Chief To Placate Didi?

With Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee carefully evading any mention of Congress during her party’s Shahid Diwas Rally last week, speculations are rife whether Congress high command will be replacing the present Pradesh Congress Chief and Baharampur MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. Chowdhury has been extremely vocal about Didi and alleged atrocities by her party. He not only spearheaded the alliance with the CPI(M) during the last State Assembly Election 2021, but also maintained it even during this recently concluded Panchayat Election. Incidentally, Adhir had also written to Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge requesting them to look into senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi’s representation of TMC in Supreme Court matters. It has been learnt that Congress leadership is not keen to upset Mamata, which might jeopardise its chances of bargaining for two existing Lok Sabha seats of Baharampur and Maldaha Dakshin. A section of the state committee said that outgoing Rajya Sabha Congress MP Pradip Bhattacharjee’s name is doing the rounds; he had the support of TMC during his nomination in 2017. Interestingly, Adhir joined the protest programme at Parliament — on Manipur Issue along with TMC and other parties.  Adhir enjoys the confidence of Gandhis, hence it will be interesting to see whether they will replace him.
Mamata India

At TMC’s Martyr's Day Rally, Didi Vows To Oust BJP In 2024

At the Trinamool Congress Martyr’s Day Rally, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee said that the newly formed alliance of the 26 Opposition parties – I.N.D.I.A — will oust the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government in the 2024 General Elections. Didi said that the BJP which coined ‘Beti Bachao’ slogan will be shown the doors by “Durgas” — women of the country. Didi attacked the BJP on women’s issues — ongoing violence in Manipur, Bilkis Bano and wrestlers’ sexual harassment cases. Interestingly, Didi avoided mentioning Congress during her 42-minute speech at the annual event of her party. Besides, she was careful in her address of the Left parties; she addressed them as “CPI(M) er Bandhura” (CPIM friends), over their constant allegations of rampant violence and vote loot by her party in the recently concluded panchayat polls. Voicing the slogan “Jeetaga Bharat”, Didi told the party cadres that they would be informed about the protest programmes against the Centre to be taken out under the banner of the Opposition alliance. Interestingly, after Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar making it clear that they have no interest in the Prime Minister’s seat, Didi too did likewise, saying that she has no ambition for any chair but is just keen to dethrone BJP from the centre.

L To R: Samik Bhatt acharya, Bharati Ghosh & Anirban Ganguly

Anti-Mamata Leaders May Get BJP Ticket To Rajya Sabha From West Bengal

With the Rajya Sabha Election to take place on July 24 at seven seats from Bengal, speculations are rife that this time it will be an anti-Mamata Banerjee BJP leader to find a spot in the upper house. The State BJP is yet to announce the name of its sole candidate at a time when the ruling Trinamool Congress has already released the list of its six confirmed candidates.  The party has renominated — Derek O’Brien, Dola Sen and Sukhendu Sekhar Ray and brought in three new faces — National spokesperson Saket Gokhale, Prakash Chik Baraik and Samirul Islam. In the case of BJP, names of former IPS-turned BJP leader Bharati Ghosh, Bengal observer Swapan Dasgupta, BJP State spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya, Anirban Ganguly and Greater Cooch Behar People’s Association head Anant Maharaj are doing the rounds. BJP sources claim that Ghosh’s chance is maximum since she was a prized catch by BJP during 2021 State Assembly election despite being one of closest IPS officers to Didi. This former IPS officer was given a special role during the G20 Summit. Besides her, Ganguly, who contested at Bolpur seat, but lost, is known to be close to Union Home Minister Amit Shah also stands a chance. It is learnt that BJP is thinking of nominating actor-turned-politician Mithun Chakraborty in place of Roopa Ganguly whose term is complete.
Mamata _Campaign

Why Is Didi Heavily Campaigning For The West Bengal Panchayat Poll?

Nearly after a decade, Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is heavily campaigning for the upcoming three-tier Panchayat Poll. Didi last campaigned in 2008, and that too sparingly. This time around Didi addressed a rally at Kakdwip of South 24 Parganas on June 16 during the concluding day of Trinamoole Nabo Jowar programme. It could be well categorised as TMC chairperson kickstarting Panchayat Poll campaign. Mamata has already held rallies in districts of North Bengal, where TMC is struggling to gain a foothold. On July 3, she will be campaigning at Birbhum, one of the strongest TMC-held districts besides the North and South 24 Parganas. Didi is leaving nothing to chance to ensure a win in the maximum number of gram panchayats, panchayat samitis and zilla parishads. Interestingly, Mamata has once again been vocal about corruption within her party and made it clear to her voters not to fall prey to ‘cut money and syndicate raj’. Political observers believe that Didi is aware of the fact that this rural body poll is crucial to cementing TMC’s position as the strongest anti-BJP party. It is learnt that Didi is keen that TMC contest 40 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state. But, the moot point is whether the Opposition Party will agree to her demand when they meet in Shimla some time in July.
Mamata banerjee_patna

Will Congress Agree To Didi’s ‘Pocket Of Influence’ Formula For 2024 General Elections?

Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee will be reaching Patna on June 22, a day before the Opposition meet on June 23. All eyes are on her since Mamata, who championed the need for the Opposition unity to take on BJP in 2024 polls had floated a formula that everyone should support the party in their pockets of influence, will be sitting with Congress leaders after a long time. It is important to note that several regional party leaders including JDU chief Nitish Kumar, RJD scion Tejaswi Yadav, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav met Didi at her residence to discuss Opposition unity and strategy. Also TMC chief shed her aversion to sitting with Congress despite the fact that Pradesh Congress has been aggressively canvassing against her in the state. Recently, at a public rally in Kakdwip of South 24 Parganas, Didi made it categorical that she’s ready to ally with Congress at the Centre, but not in the state as it has allied with the CPM. According to the political analysts, Didi is happy about the fact that her formula of support for the regional party at its bastion has been accepted and she’s ready to support Congress at its 200-odd Lok Sabha seats.
Violence bengal

Will Rampant Violence In The Run Up To Panchayat Polls Jeopardise Trinamool’s Chances?

The run-up to the Panchayat election in West Bengal to be held on July 8 is witnessing violence right from the first day (June 9) of filing nomination papers. Incidentally, the Opposition parties moved the Calcutta High Court after new State Election Commissioner Rajiva Sinha announced that the filing of nominations will be from June 9 to June 15 and June 20 will be the last date of withdrawal. Incidents of sporadic violence have been reported from South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas,  Murshidabad, Birbhum, East Midnapore, East Burdwan, Cooch Behar where BJP, CPM and Congress have accused the ruling TMC of preventing their candidates from filing nominations. According to TMC senior leadership, it is still facing the repercussions of Panchayat polls 2018, where TMC won more than 95% of gram panchayats, of which 34% of the seats were uncontested, a record in the history of Bengal Panchayat polls. Further, TMC is grappling with rampant infighting in its own bastion of South Bengal which turned violent. Incidentally, the appeal by the party’s general secretary Abhishek Banerjee to keep Panchayat poll violence-free seems to have fallen on deaf ears. What needs to be seen is whether Didi and the Election Commission will comply with the Calcutta High Court’s ruling and deploy central force at the super sensitive booths across the state during the panchayat poll.

Reduce Dependency On Modi-Shah-Nadda, Says Central Leadership To BJP Bengal’s Unit

With the recent electoral defeat in Karnataka, central BJP leadership has made it categorical to the Bengal unit to reduce its dependency on Delhi. Bengal BJP insiders say that the Central leadership has given a clear directive that the state unit cannot seek high command’s opinion on all the issues pertaining to the state. Most importantly, central leadership has stated not to focus completely on PM Narendra Modi, but to give equal importance to the party’s local leaders in regard to the campaign for the upcoming Panchayat poll and next year’s Lok Sabha elections. According to the report of the Central Observers over-reliance on Modi-Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP National President J P Nadda in the election campaign is not making the organisation self-sustaining. Moreover, a large part of the state leadership thinks that Modi magic will work during last minute-campaigning. This over dependence on Modi is the cause of local leaders not being proactive and in the process becoming irrelevant. According to BJP sources, Amit Shah and JP Nadda will visit Bengal and other states regularly to directly investigate the ‘Lok Sabha Pravas Programme’. But the main work has to be done by the state leadership. One of the vice-presidents of the state BJP and MP Jagannath Sarkar said that local leaders are now being given importance since some decisions that are imposed from above, lead to mistakes.
Abhishek Didi

Didi Attacks BJP Over CBI Summons To Nephew Abhishek

Trinamool Congress is faced with one too many negative news — reports of rampant corruption, increasing infighting within the party and CBI summoning Abhishek Banerjee. Soon after the Calcutta High Court dismissed TMC chief Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee’s plea to stay CBI/ED interrogation in connection with teachers’ recruitment scam, CBI summoned him to appear before them at Kolkata office. As a result, Abhishek had to hit the pause button on his 60-day state-wide yatra, Trinamoole Nabo Jowar and return to Kolkata. An angry Didi said BJP was jittery seeing Abhishek’s outreach programme was successful. She warned stating that if Abhishek is stopped from undertaking this programme then she herself will take the yatra forward. Abhishek too challenged CBI to make two stages and publicly question him in a janata durbar and if proven guilty send to gallows and set an example. However, political analysts have two views on this development. One, Didi will now turn the heat on the BJP stating that the CBI probe on Abhishek is a vindictive act to stop them from showcasing the true colours of PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Second, the BJP will go all guns out stating the rural masses who are very angry over the suspension of work on many central-funded schemes due to non-disbursal of funds from the Union Government that Abhishek’s yatra is a hogwash to hide first-hand the loot of central funds meant for these projects by Trinamool leaders and functionaries.

Post Karnataka Victory Has Didi Softened Her Stance Towards The Congress?

Two days after Congress won Karnataka Election, Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee has actually given an overt signal of having the Congress in the Opposition fold to take on the BJP in 2024 General Election. Didi reiterated her stand that states with strong regional presence must take the lead and at 200-odd seats across the country where Congress has a strong presence they must be supported by other parties. However, her softened stance also came with the rider that “Congress must sacrifice at some places also” – clearly hinting the Congress High Command to ask Bengal Congress to go soft on TMC in the state. Incidentally, TMC and Congress are at loggerheads, despite Mamata being known to have good relations with Sonia Gandhi. According to party insiders, Didi’s earlier reluctance of supporting Congress stemmed from the alliance between the Congress and CPM from time to time in Bengal and also from Congress’ back-to-back poll setbacks. Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury pointed out Didi never attributed Karnataka’s victory to Rahul Gandhi or during Bharat Jodo Yatra even though Didi’s ascent to power in 2011 was with the help of Sonia Gandhi when the party went into an alliance to oust Left Front. Political observers also pointed out, understanding between Didi and State Congress will remain distant as TMC will never sacrifice a single of 42 Lok Sabha seats for the Congress or for any other parties.

Trinamool’s New Outreach Programme Brings To Fore Factionalism, Infighting Within The Party

Trinamool Congress’ new outreach programme  Trinamool Nabo Jowar has put into question the unity of party leaders. Opening the pandora’s box of factionalism, the programme undertaken by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and second in command Abhishek Banerjee has failed to contain factionalism in the secret ballot to select candidates for the upcoming three-tier rural polls.   So there is chaos in district after district — torn ballot papers, broken ballot boxes, printed votes, tampering of voter lists, vandalism, fights among party members. The campaign began on April 25 and entered into the 18th day across eight districts — from Cooch Behar to Birbhum. Opposition parties are attacking the ruling party stating that it can no longer imagine that a non-violent, orderly vote is possible. The widespread violence of the Panchayat elections 2018 in Bengal is still in the minds of people. Questions are being raised over the deployment of police for the ruling party’s activities. Most importantly, voices of dissent could be heard among the common people where they claimed that factions directed them to cast votes in favour of the candidate that a local leader supported. Political observers pointed out that the exercise is turning out to gauge the dissent among the people for the party ahead of the polls since free expression of public opinion and democracy could be sought any time of the year.
The kerala story

West Bengal Filmmakers Not In Favour Of Bans, Suggest Counter-Narrative Via Art

Bengal filmmakers feel West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s decision to ban “The Kerala Story” will not serve the purpose of restricting controversial narratives. A day after Didi declared Sudipto Sen’s movie “distorted”, eminent filmmakers close to Didi said that the decision has jeopardised her pro-culture and art image. National Award-winning filmmaker Gautam Ghose said that during the previous Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA, the erstwhile censor board comprising stalwarts like Shyam Bengal, Kamal Haasan suggested keeping an option where the state authorities could take legal action against the makers of any film hurting religious sentiments leading to law and order problems. Unfortunately, the suggestions never saw the light of the day, lamented Ghosh. Another filmmaker Aniket Chattopadhyay observed that the decision of banning a movie in the digital era is basically futile since a government cannot hold back the release as it has been cleared by the censor board. So what is the way out – “Make a counter-narrative”, suggested Chattopadhyay. Leftist filmmaker Suman Mukhopadhyay compared banning a film to burning books. According to him, there have been occasions of differences with the erstwhile Left Front government over his movie like “Herbert” but there are no instances of banning movies in the state.

TMC Supremo Puts Nephew On Acid Test Through Jana Sanjog Yatra

The much hyped new campaign of the ruling Trinamool Congress Trinamoole Nabo Jowar had raised several eyebrows in terms of expenditure, party’s slipping hold at panchayat level and increase in rebel leaders. In April, the party Supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced that her nephew and second in command of the party Abhishek Banerjee will start this new campaign where he would be undertaking Jana Sanjog Yatra comprising 250 public rallies.  Abhishek’s 60-day outreach programme started on April 25 from Alipurduar and it will culminate in Kakdwip of South 24 Parganas on June 24. It is learnt that over 292 luxurious tents costing Rs 25,000 per tent/night were set up in Alipurduar-Coochbehar for party functionaries. Besides this a luxury caravan has been brought in for Abhishek’s stay. Significantly, the exercise of secret ballot to determine the preferred candidate for the upcoming panchayat elections was marred by clashes between two factions of party that broke out in Alipurduar and Cooch Behar. Not only this, the party’s sitting MLA from Islampur in Uttar Dinajpur district, Abdul Karim Choudhury threatened that he will send the names of probable candidates for the upcoming rural polls. Meanwhile, several senior party leaders view that Didi has put Abhishek on an acid test to translate this new campaign into a success by ensuring a win in the upcoming three-tier rural polls and also prove his acceptability.

What Ails The Bengal Film Industry?

The Bengal film industry which saw the likes of Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Ritwik Ghatak, Tarun Majumder and others, today struggles to hold on to its glory. There is a marked shift from big screen content to OTT platforms — Hoichoi, Zee5, Klick, Addatimes. Moreover, several renowned actors are also seen in Bollywood movies and regional movies of South.  All top stars and directors like Prosenjit Chatterjee, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury feel that the Bengali film industry requires the much-needed investment and passionate people to surge ahead. Films Manobjamin, Projapoti, Kaberi Antardhan, Maayakumari, Dilkhush, Ghore Pherar Gaan, Mitthye Premer Gaan and others released in the first quarter of 2023. While Projapoti could turn box office collections into gold, others failed as they were replaced by Pathaan at the theatres. Interestingly, actors like Jisshu Sengupta, Anirban Bhattachajee, Tota Roy Chowdhury, Saswata Chatterjee, Churni Ganguly, Swastika Mukherjee, Parambrata and recently veteran actor Prosenjit are taking up projects from Bollywood and those from the South. Mardaani, Manikarnika, Sadak 2 famed actor Jisshu pointed out that the emergence of OTT platforms have blurred the lines between regional industries. For Parambrata, directing Bengali movies is passion and acting in Bollywood contents such as Bulbull, Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi, Aranyak, Mithya gave him national exposure.
Mamata banerjee

TMC Loses National Party Status, But Didi Still Nurses National Ambition

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s meeting with her Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar and Deputy CM Tejaswi Prasad at the State Secretariat, make it evident that Didi has not put her national ambitions on the back burner. Her single point agenda is to dislodge BJP from the Centre. Will it be possible given the fact, her party Trinamool Congress (TMC) lost national party status? In fact, many from her party feel that Didi should continue to work towards holding its own citadel in the state. A senior TMC leader on condition of anonymity questioned the party’s decision to contest Tripura Assembly Election in 2023 and Goa Assembly election in 2022. He questioned the futile exercise of spending crores of rupees in these two states without any political gain and instead it has led to the loss of National party status. Sources say Didi was not keen on contesting elections in Goa and Tripura but it was party’s general secretary, Abhishek Banerjee’s idea. Also, some TMC leaders feel the party’s image has taken a hit with the induction of former Union minister Yashwant Sinha and former BJP member Shatrughan Sinha. Though the actor won the Asansol Lok Sabha seat, he is still considered as an outsider by the district leadership. Yashwant Sinha quit the party in 2022. The general consensus is that Didi should focus on the party’s image as some of its leaders have been jailed.
Mamata abhishek

Is New TMC Campaign A Signal That Didi Is Passing The Baton To Abhishek Banerjee?

Is Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee planning to hand over the reins to her nephew Abhishek Banerjee? All indications point in that directions. Witness this, Abhishek, the party’s second-in-command and national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee has unveiled a new campaign “Trinamooler Nabojowar” (Uprise of New Trinamool). Spanning over two months, the campaign has two parts — first a Jono Sanjog Yatra (mass outreach march) where he will be addressing over 250 public meetings, and the second being Gram Banglar Motamot (opinion of rural Bengal). Interestingly, Abhishek will hold meetings with 3,000 party functionaries of the district, panchayat and booth levels and also with the people of local influence in the view of selecting 73000 candidates for the three-tier panchayat election through a secret ballot. Political analysts say that with Didi announcing the outreach drive it clearly hints at projecting her nephew as a mass leader ahead of the panchayat and the national polls next year. Moreover, analysts are also equating the new programme with that of Didi ke Bolo (Tell to Didi) campaign, designed by erstwhile political consultant Prasant Kishore, which resulted in thumping mandate during State Assembly election 2021. The march begins from North Bengal where TMC is still struggling for a strong foothold.
Ram Navmi Violence

Post Ram Navami Violence, Amit Shah To Visit Bengal To Boost Morale Of The Party Workers

Union Home Minister Amit Shah will be visiting West Bengal on April 14. Shah’s visit is timed when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has blamed the state BJP for orchestrating violence during Ram Navami in the districts of Howrah and Hooghly. Shah, who will be on a two-day tour to Bengal, will hold a rally on April 14 at Trinamool Congress (TMC) bastion — Suri in Birbhum. Incidentally, TMC strongman of Birbhum and Mamata’s close aide, Anubrata Mondal was arrested almost a year back in cattle smuggling case making the district an open ground for the BJP. Besides, this visit is also going to be a part of the saffron camp’s focus on 24 Lok Sabha constituencies out of 42 in which the BJP could not win in the 2019 General Elections. It may be recalled that Birbhum has two out of 42 Lok Sabha constituencies, Bolpur and Birbhum and in the last parliamentary election the ruling TMC had defeated the BJP by a high margin. Sources said Shah has already received reports that the state unit has failed to direct the district units to consolidate the party’s position in places of South Bengal where TMC is facing anti-incumbency. Apart from Shah, BJP national president JP Nadda will also visit 12 such constituencies to boost the morale of the party workers.

Was Didi’s Dharna Aimed At Projecting Herself As The Key Entity Of The Regional Party Front?

Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee holding a 30-hour dharna in Bengal’s capital, Kolkata, sent out a clear message that she will not leave any stone unturned to keep her stake in Regional Party Front intact. In fact, training her guns against the BJP over non-disbursal of funds by the Centre, Didi called for “Ekbar Aur Dilli Chalo” programme aimed at uniting the Opposition parties ahead of General Elections in 2024. Since the conviction and disqualification of Congress scion Rahul Gandhi, Didi was prompt in supporting him contrary to her previous stance of calling Rahul as BJP’s TRP. She had also sent two TMC MPs to the recent Congress meeting called by its party’s president Mallikarjun Kharge in New Delhi. Significantly, Mamata met three non-BJP, non-Congress leaders earlier including her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar, Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav and former Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy. TMC is also talking to ex-NDA partners like Akali Dal. Meanwhile, Didi’s nephew and second in command of the party, Abhishek Banerjee has also hinted that the party is mulling the idea of filing defamation cases against BJP leaders including Opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari and PM Narendra Modi for catcalling “Didi, o Didi” during Bengal Assembly polls campaign in 2021.


Didi Moots Regional Party Front Sans Cong To Fight BJP In 2024

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has taken the lead to create a new Regional Party front sans Congress to give a tough fight to BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Taking a cue from her previous slogan of “Khela Hobe” (There Will Be A Game), Didi has sounded 2024 poll bugle with her new slogan “Abar khela hobey (We Will Play Again). Recently, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav came calling to Kolkata and has expressed his party’s whole-hearted support to whatever Didi does for a BJP-mukt India. Taking the regional pact a step forward, Mamata visited Odisha to meet her counterpart Naveen Patnaik. She will host former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy at her residence.  It is learnt that the TMC supremo will be staging a sit-in dharna near Ambedkar Murti in Kolkata from March 29 till the night of March 30. This is against the pending dues of the state and excesses by the central agencies. According to political observers, instead of calling for a Third Front, Mamata has floated the idea of Regional Front as there are around 200-250 Lok Sabha seats where powerful regional parties are in direct contest with the BJP. TMC insiders say that Mamata is critical about Congress stating that “PM Modi cannot be dislodged if Rahul remains the leader of the Opposition because Rahul is Modi’s biggest TRP and the saffron camp uses the Congress scion for their own good”.
Mamata Tmc Meet

Bypoll Jolt Sees Didi Rejig TMC’s Minority Cell, And Fall Back On Old Guards

The Sagardighi bypoll results which went in Congress favour seems to have jolted the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. To keep anti-incumbency at bay during the General Elections in 2024, Didi quickly called for a meeting of senior party leaders and categorically told them that TMC lost Sagardighi seat not because of minority vote bank shift but because of the party’s “internal weakness”.  To keep the minority vote bank intact, Mamata has rejigged the party’s minority cell by appointing youth leader and MLA Mosaraf Hossain as the new president. The incumbent president MLA Haji Nurul Islam has been elevated as chairman. It may be recalled that Didi had formed a five-member committee headed by Bengali-speaking muslim leader and ex-president of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind within the TMC and a legislator Siddiqullah Chowdhury to prepare a report on the bypoll loss. Now, Chowdhury has been given the responsibility of three minority-dominated districts — Malda, Murshidabad and South Dinajpur. Interestingly, Didi’s close aide and state cabinet minister Firhad Hakim, who is an Urdu-speaking muslim, seems to have been sidelined by taking away his responsibility for the districts of Murshidabad, Howrah and Hooghly. For the panchayat election TMC has aligned with Jamiat, a grassroot organization. Many senior leaders and state cabinet ministers have been given additional responsibilities thus bringing back Mamata’s old guard rule replacing her nephew and second in command of the party Abhishek’s youth policy.

Will The Teacher Recruitment Scam Pull Trinamool Down In Panchayat Poll?

With the Enforcement Directorate telling the Calcutta High Court that the volume of the school recruitment scam in West Bengal may reach up to Rs 350 crore, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) has gone all guns out to find out those from the Opposition involved in the scam. Several TMC leaders including former second-in-command of the party Partha Chatterjee have been arrested in connection with the scam. TMC for the first time expelled two youth leaders who had been arrested by ED for their involvement in the scam. Earlier, it had suspended senior leader Partha Chatterjee and legislator Manik Bhattacharya, but did not expel them from the party.  TMC has alleged that Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari was directly involved and demanded his custodial investigation in the case. Recently, the court dismissed the appointment of over 800 candidates out of which 55 people were recommended by Adhikari, claimed TMC. The series of dismissals from the job of candidates have left Didi worried since the Panchayat Election is knocking at the door. She has even made a fervent appeal to the court to punish ‘culprits’ in the recruitment scam but reinstated “legally” those who are losing their jobs. Political observers believe in the light of the recruitment scam TMC may lose a few districts in the Panchayat Poll to be held in May. If that happens it will give an impetus to BJP in West Bengal.
cpm cong

Will Bengal CPM And Congress Make Their Alliance Official For Lok Sabha 2024 Elections?

The Congress candidate winning the Sagardighi Assembly seat in West Bengal in alliance with CPM has put both the parties in a dilemma. The arch rivals are now thinking hard whether to forge an alliance officially in the run-up to the Lok Sabha Elections 2024. Interestingly, Berhampore MP and President of West Bengal Pradesh Congress Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has categorically stated that his party is keen to fight future elections in the state in an alliance with the Left to take on the Trinamool Congress and BJP. Moreover, with this result, Congress gets one representation at the Assembly. Chowdhury, who happens to be close to the Gandhi family, has made it clear that lower-level party cadres are keen on this alliance contrary to some top Left leaders thinking otherwise. The senior Congress leader said that he had requested CPM Politburo member Biman Bose and State Secretary Md Salim not to field any candidate for this seat. However, previous attempts at similar alliances backfired during State Assembly Elections in 2016 and 2021 and both were unable to even win a single seat. Insiders said that Chowdhury had expressed his concern to Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi to speak against TMC. Gandhi’s statement against TMC in Meghalaya campaign results from that request. Incidentally, both Rahul and his mother Sonia Gandhi enjoy an excellent relationship with Mamata Banerjee.

Is BJP Trying To Push TMC To Divide West Bengal On Ethnic Lines?

On February 20 this year, the West Bengal State Assembly passed the resolution against the attempts to divide Bengal by voice vote. This move clearly indicates that the ruling Trinamool Congress government has found itself trapped in the mire of separate statehood demands by the Tribals of North Bengal and citizenship status for the Hindu refugees of South Bengal. At a time when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is countering BJP’s move of implementing Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Bengal, she is also hounded by the demands of separate statehoods out of North Bengal such as Greater Cooch Behar for Rajbanshis and Gorkhaland for the Gorkhas. While, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung constituted Bharatiya Gorkhaland Sangharsha Samiti committee to lead their demand for a separate Gorkhaland state, Rajbanshis leader Ananta Maharaj, head of the Greater Cooch Behar Peoples’ Association, has also demanded a separate state of Cooch Behar. Interestingly, Matuas, lower caste Hindu refugees living in districts of North and South 24 Parganas and Nadia are hopeful about their citizenship through the implementation of CAA. Moreover, State BJP leadership had assured the Matua community that the Centre is committed to implementing the CAA and also luring the Rajbanshis and Koch, with the assurance of converting North Bengal into a Union Territory.
Guv & Mamata (1)

Are West Bengal BJP Leaders Up In Arms Against The State Governor?

Ever since CV Ananda Bose took charge as West Bengal Governor in November 2022 he has been all praises for chief minister Mamata Banerjee and shares cordial ties with her unlike his predecessor and now Vice President of India Jagdeep Dhankhar. But this has not gone well with BJP Bengal leaders. It was visible in a series of events.  First, during ‘Hatey Khori’ (first writing), a ceremony observed during the Saraswati Puja in the presence of Didi BJP leaders gave the event a miss. More. Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari tweeted, “Doesn’t glorify the dignity of Raj Bhavan”. In another instance, when Bose praised and compared the CM to erudites and Presidents of India Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, APJ Abdul Kalam at a function where she received an honorary Doctor of Literature from Kolkata’s St Xavier’s University. Again, Adhikari reacted saying that the Governor’s speech resembled a rehearsal for the customary speech to be read out at the beginning of the Budget Session of the Legislative Assembly. Surprisingly, despite the governor being appointed by the Centre, the state BJP leaders staged a walkout on February 8, during the Governor’s maiden address in the State Assembly, raising slogans and tearing papers as they protested against “corruption” by the ruling TMC. Why?
Untitled (900 × 900 px) (58)

Clockwise : Manik Sarkar, Amit Shah, Mamata Banerjee & Pradyot Bikram, Manikya Debbarma

Can BJP Keep CPM At Bay And Retain Power In Tripura?

Leaders across parties – BJP, TMC, CPM, TIPRA — have converged at Tripura as it goes to poll on February 16. This North-Eastern state has come to prominence since its last election in 2018, after BJP ousted the 25-year old Communist regime. While BJP is desperate to hold on to the state, the CPM, keen to be back in the driver’s seat, has entered into an alliance with the Congress and Trinamool Congress. And the new entrant is the Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) Motha, a regional party floated by former royalty Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma, after leaving the Congress. Interestingly he is going solo. Up for grabs is 60 seats. BJP is aware of its shortcomings as it failed to live up to voter’s expectations that accompanied its swift rise in 2018 winning 35 seats. So it did mid-course correction by replacing chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb with Manik Saha. With nine states slated to go to polls before the 2024 Lok Sabha election, the BJP is leaving no stone unturned to win all the states. Towards this, its senior leaders like the Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma have trooped into Tripura and kicked off their election campaign. Likewise, the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee in tow with her nephew Abhishek Banerjee had camped for two days. The result of this four- cornered fight will be known on March 2.

Green Signal: West Bengal BJP Leaders Woo Muslim Voters With An Eye 2024 Lok Sabha Polls

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi sending out a clear message on the need of wooing the minorities, a new buzz in Bengal BJP is reaching out to the muslims since the community comprises nearly 30% of total voters and BJP must reach out to them to garner votes ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha election. Out of 294 Assembly seats in Bengal, 125 are muslim-dominated and Trinamool Congress (TMC) won 90  of those seats in the 2021 Assembly poll taking her party tally to 213. However, incidents like Leftist student leader Anis Khan’s death and the arrest of Indian Secular Front MLA, Naushad Siddique, the scion of Furfura Sharif in South 24 Parganas, one of the muslim dominated districts have raised questions against TMC. Interestingly, besides Congress and CPI(M), BJP too led movements against the arrest of the minority MLA.  Minority Cell chairman Charle’s Nandi has recently stated that muslims in Didi’s tenure are the “most poor and backward”. Sources in the saffron camp said that a two-wheeler rally will be taken out in 13 Lok Sabha constituencies which are majorly dominated by Pasmanda muslims to sharpen its outreach among this socially backward muslims. Moreover, the state BJP which has a minority morcha cell, in the 41 of the 42 Parliamentary constituencies, held a residential training camp for its minority leaders and workers at Berhampore in the muslim-dominated Murshidabad district. Will all these efforts yield dividends? That’s the moot point.
Untitled (900 × 900 px) (3)

‘Pathaan’ Helps Reopen Single-Screen Theatres In Kolkata, Bengali Movies Lose Out

Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Pathaan gave a big push for the reopening of closed single-screen theatres in Kolkata. At least nine such halls including Bijoli, Prachi and Orient were reopened after they closed down due to stiff competition from multiplexes. However, Bengali films, including Dev and Mithun Chakraborty’s ‘Projapoti’, and superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee’s ‘Kaberi Antardhan’, celebrated actress Rituparna Sengupta’s ‘Maayakumari’ which were running at the box-office had been unceremoniously brought down owing to Pathaan release. Single Theatre Distributors’ law which clearly states that the single theatre owners will have to screen all four shows if the film has to be played on a single screen. While a section of the single-theatre owners chose Pathaan over the Bengal movies, another section chose to stand by the regional films. Owner of iconic single theatre Priya Cinema, Arijit Dutta said that his decision was purely from a business point of view where Pathaan pre-release booking surpassed the box-office collection of Bengali movies. Generally, one show used to be allocated to Bengali movies in case of big banner Hindi films but now there are no shows. Superstar Dev cautioned that it will soon become a “black Friday or black Wednesday for Tollywood” on the release date of a big Hindi film. On the contrary, owner of renowned single-theatre Navina, Navin Choukhani continued with Dev’s Projapati instead of Pathaan, saying that it had been his conscious decision to stand by Tollywood.
Untitled (900 × 900 px) (23)

MLA and State cabinet minister Sovandeb Chatterjee being confronted by the locals

Trinamool’s Mass Contact Drive Sees Senior Party Leaders Facing Villagers' Protests

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s emissaries, Didir Doot bear the brunt of misgovernance and corruption during Anchake Anchale module under the party’s massive outreach programme — Didir Suraksha Kawach ahead of Panchayat polls. Under this Anchake Anchale programme 350 state and district-level TMC leaders will be visiting the villages with 15 flagship schemes of the government. The programme which kicked off on January 11 with party MPs and MLAs, state cabinet ministers and prominent leaders spending a day at a gram panchayat were marked by protests from the locals. Party’s state general-secretary Kunal Ghosh faced severe protests in East Midnapore, a stronghold of Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari. Besides Ghosh, state cabinet minister Jyotipriya Mallick, MPs Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Saugata Roy and Satabdi Roy, senior leader and MLA Tapas Roy, youth wing leaders Debangshu Bhattacharya, Sayantika Banerjee also faced protests. Both Tapas Roy and Saugata Roy received complaints against TMC panchayat pradhans of corruption on the other hand Bhattacharya and Banerjee were stopped from entering a village as no action was taken after villagers had complained of bad roads, lack of supply of drinking water, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna and others. Interestingly, one of the MLAs Biswajit Das was confronted by the agitators for switching camps to BJP during the 2021 election and returning to TMC.  Is this move by Didi an attempt to purge the party, amid reports, corruption and scams ahead of 2024 general elections?
Collage Maker-18-Jan-2023-02

Is CPM Taking A Leaf Out Of RSS Playbook To Revive The Party In West Bengal?

CPI(M) sees itself as the sole political unit that can combat RSS and BJP ideologically. As the Bengal CPI(M)observes 57th anniversary of its mouthpiece Ganashakti, it has initiated its maiden ‘digitally’ subscription programme for its supporters and sympathisers to donate to the party. Veteran Left leader and Politburo member Prakash Karat on this occasion said that the Left must put forth democratic, secular and Left ideology and vision among people so as to change the political scenario of the country. He further observed that RSS has the unique feature of functioning within the society through its various outfits, socially, culturally, and educationally and Left parties must counter this through their ideology and vision to uphold a democratic and secular environment. Taking a dig at the BJP, the former CPI(M) general secretary said that the minorities in India are being marginalised in the name of nationalism and the country is being run by an extreme right (wing) government. It may be noted that the Left is in power in only Kerala at present, having lost Tripura to the BJP in 2018 and West Bengal to the Trinamool Congress in 2011. The CPI(M) Bengal has released a short video where veteran party leader and Left Front chairman Biman Bose explains the need for going digital.
Didi campaign

Didi Combats BJP’s Expose With ‘Didir Suraksha Kawach’ Outreach Campaign

Keeping a hawk’s eye on upcoming panchayat polls, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has launched her maiden extensive digital campaign – ‘Didir Suraksha Kavach’ through Didir Doot’ (party cadres). The public outreach comes at a time when Didi’s party and government are battling scams including the recent protests at the panchayat level over irregularities in the allocation of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, teachers’ recruitment. During the launch of the programme Didi said that this will be a medium where 3.5 lakh party leaders would reach every block and cover 2 crore families in 60 days, with workers staying in villages to understand the problems faced by locals. They will be also promoting 15 welfare schemes, covering various sectors such as food, housing, health, education, social security, income and employment through the newly developed app under the same name. Most importantly, post Lok Sabha Polls 2019 debacle where Didi lost several of LS seats to BJP, the saffron party launched an initiative called ‘Didi ke Balo’ which primarily opened the pandora’s box of the issues such as “cut money” and “syndicate raj”. According to party insiders, over 3343 gram panchayats are there in Bengal, but this new launch is not only eyeing the rural polls but also at the Lok Sabha Polls 2024. However, political analysts said that Didi has sent a strong message to party functionaries and leaders accused of corruption.  


Technology Cannot Disrupt Original Content Provider: Short Post Editor

They say time flies. How true!  Today is our #SecondAnniversary. Two years back at the height of Covid-19 Pandemic when lockdown was the way of life we took a leap of faith and launched Short Post (Jan 28, 2021), the first-of-its-kind website in the country that focuses on Authentic Gossip. The Oxymoron is deliberate. Well, the response has been quite encouraging. That’s what has kept us going. Till date we have posted close to 2000 stories in the areas of Politics, Business, Entertainment and Sports. Each insightful story of around 225 words has been contributed by Senior Editors. There is a sense of satisfaction of creating a new segment in the market – authentic gossip — and in the process creating a brand (in a limited sense), creating demand (readers) and creating supply (writers). Well known advertisers — IDFC FIRST Bank, ICICI Lombard – supported us.  And that really boosted our confidence. Thank you!

So here we are raring to go.  But, when I look at the media landscape the disruption is indeed fast and furious. Technology is playing a very big role in how content will be consumed. In the past, we have seen how social media has disrupted the media world. Now, everybody is saying the same thing about ChatGPT. It has reached 1 million users in five days. Its scorching pace of growth is indeed frightening and will disrupt the media industry big time. My limited argument is can it do investigative stories, write gossip items using the digital world ecosystem. Unlikely. Clearly, the original content has to be created first — only then can ChatGPT do the magic. That’s what we promise to do – focus on original content.

Before I sign off, I am reminded of an old advertisement of the early sixties: “Avis is only No.2 in rent a cars. So we try harder”. Likewise I can say, we are two years old and we are trying even harder to be relevant to you readers.