gfiles magazine

March 18, 2013

Typing to stay in touch

times & mimes
Typing to stay in touch
mamata’s magic potion
Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of Bengal, has her own whims and fancies with little care about what the bhadralok have to say. She follows a curious routine, is awake till three in the morning, is very fond of movies, has two Blackberry mobiles and replies to every SMS sent to her. While her Ministers, party members and MPs may wait for months to meet her, she keeps them updated about her plans through SMS, which is how most of them now stay in touch with her. In fact, even during Cabinet meetings, she has both her hands on her mobile, busy typing or replying to messages. Trust being a commodity she has little faith in, Mamata uses SMS’ to keep in touch with her party cadres. This direct communication, however, is taking its toll on her performance; official business appears to be getting sidelined. Importantly, even as the Congress in West Bengal is fretting and fuming over her performance -- Deepa Dasmunshi made a rabid ekla chalo speech at the recently held Chintan Shivir in Jaipur, with Sonia Gandhi responding enthusiastically, party members like Kamal Nath have a different world view. The gum chewing minister (who is desperately trying to give up his smoking bug) was overheard commenting in Parliament, “If you close one door, keep one window open”. Thus, the Congress is said to be keeping its Bengal options open, and even the Budget session saw Mamata softening her line against the Congress and UPA. In fact, she has reportedly instructed her MPs not to take the ruling party head on. Clearly, elections are around the corner and Mamata also needs to keep that one window open. This could also be because the wily Mamata knows on which side her political bread is buttered. She needs either the crutches of the BJP-led NDA or the Congress-led UPA to make good her seats and consolidate her votes.

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