Undoubtedly, women have played a big role in making Mamata Banerjee the chief minister of West Bengal for the third consecutive time, believes Agnimitra Paul, the president of Bengal BJP Mahila Morcha who was elected MLA from the Asansol South constituency. However, she attributes the huge support of women for the Trinamool Congress chief to the ‘injury’ on the leg.
In the course of a conversation with reporters, Paul said that the ‘injury’ in Mamta’s leg got her a lot of sympathy from the women. “This created a soft corner towards her in women. It is another matter that she stood on her feet as soon as the elections were over,” the BJP MLA said.
“The BJP leaders did not know how to address the women of Bengal,” Agnimitra opined. She said that the election slogan of “Bangla nijer meye kei chai (Bengal wants none but its daughter)” of the Trinamool Congress came in handy in Mamata Banerjee’s campaign. “The women voted in her favour, looking at Mamata as an accessible leader,” Paul said.
The BJP MLA said that, besides, prominent BJP leaders from all over the country hesitated to reach Bengal to target a woman.
Agnimitra Paul, who is also a well-known fashion designer, said that the results of the Bengal assembly election are “completely unexpected for us”. “The way we worked at the grassroots level in the state in the last one-and-a-half years and the way we got the love of the public, it did not match this result at all. We may have made some mistakes, which was why we could not get the vote of the public. There should be introspection so that such a mistake is not made in the future,” she said.
Paul said that one of the main reasons for the Trinamool Congress’s victory was that it was able to cash in on the union government’s schemes that the local party had appropriated, rechristening them. “The Trinamool government presented to the people various facilities of the union government as their own, as the facilities are passed on to the people through the state administration and panchayat system. People believed that Mamata Banerjee was doing all this for them,” Paul said.
The BJP MLA expressed concern over the attacks on BJP workers after the election. She said, “This is unfortunate and is not justified in any way. We have accepted our defeat by respecting the decision of the people; yet, BJP workers are under attack. The Trinamool is trying to create such an atmosphere that no one dares to join the BJP in the days to come.”
“Mamata wants to squeeze her adversary out of the electoral competition. We were arrested for protesting against post-election violence, but none of those who perpetrated the violence has been arrested so far,” Paul said.
Paul did not see anything derogatory or arrogant in the address “Didi, O Didi” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. She said, “Prime Minister Modi did not say anything wrong against Mamata; rather Mamata directed several abusive words at the prime minister. She even said she would drag Prime Minister Modi around, with a rope tied around his waist.”
The Trinamool misrepresented Prime Minister Modi’s statements before the people, Paul said, adding, “There is nothing wrong in calling someone a sister. In Bengal, Didi means ‘elder sister’.”