Mamata saves face on Facebook
By Shutapa Paul - KOLKATA
Published: 17th Jun 2012 09:13:43 AM
Didi who has often spewed venom against social networking sites finally resorted to Facebook to win support for Kalam. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee not only surprised political circles by sticking to her choice of former President A P J Abdul Kalam for the President’s post, her debut on the very same social networking site, which she had accused of being used by the CPI(M) to malign her, left Netizens flabbergasted. “I’m astonished. I want to know if her reactions on Facebook will be similar to her reactions on that talk show organised by a news channel? She called everyone a CPI(M) cadre and Maoist and branded questions thrown at her as Left questions. Will she deactivate her account once people start asking her uncomfortable questions on Facebook?” asked Jhuma Sen, a lawyer who has often voiced her criticism of the TMC-led government’s actions on the site. “This is double standards. She (Mamata Banerjee) is completely unpredictable. She has been bad-mouthing SMS-services such as ours and monitoring social media sites and now she’s taking the help of such media!” reacted Dr Shyamal Roy, whose SMS-service, Dodhichi, has earned the ire of Didi for sending texts criticising the government.
In her maiden post on Facebook, Banerjee had said, “I am a humble, transparent, common person like the vast majority of you. I gave voice to what millions of Indians want to see in a President. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is a proud and distinguished son of India who continues to inspire all Indians. He embodies qualities I greatly admire and believe in practicing daily”. Didi’s choice has been rejected by other political parties and with Samajwadi Party Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s volte face on Friday, Banerjee stands isolated on the issue. It seems it was Banerjee’s plan to appeal to the urban masses to garner support for Kalam. “We in the All India Trinamool Congress support Dr. Kalam as the Presidential candidate. I have already given a clarion call to other parties to support Dr. Kalam as President. Along with my other fellow citizens I can only urge them to consider this call. Let our country be led forward by people such as him, people of free thought and honourable action who will not hesitate to do what is just and right,” she said.
In an adamant stance, Banerjee has publicly announced that she wouldn’t change her mind even though UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee appealed to her better sense once again. But Didi wants to hear from the people and will alter her stance only if the people show her the way. “In a democracy, people’s will is supreme. I request all my fellow citizens to petition their public representatives to stand up, support and vote for Dr. Kalam. Let your voice be heard. I will bow to the will of the people,” she said on Facebook. Interestingly, Banerjee has till now turned a blind eye to mounting condemnation of her aversion to criticism which has spilled onto social networking sites. She has called them “canards” which are being spread by the CPI(M) and its supporters. In August last year, when Facebook pages like ‘Not Paschim Banga’ tried to raise public opinion on renaming the state, Banerjee had refused to accept the people’s verdict.