KOLKATA: Eyebrows have been raised even in the ruling TMC in West Bengal as Chief Minister and party supremo Mamata Banerjee has been compared to Mahatma Gandhi by one of her senior cabinet colleagues.
Public Health Engineering Minister Subrata Mukherjee, who happens to have been Mamata’s mentor since the 70s, commented, “I have never seen Gandhiji. But I have heard and read about his sacrifice, honesty and patriotism. He used wear only half a dhoti, a pair of simple spectacles. He used to move among the masses only with a walking stick and never ask for anything.
“Much later I have seen Mamata since she was a student. With only a pair of slippers, a cotton saree worth Rs 150 and a cotton ‘Shantiniketan’ bag slung over her shoulders, she moved all over West Bengal protesting against the CPM. Many senior politicians such as Siddhartha Shankar Ray or even Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi could not dislodge the CPM from power. None of us could do what Mamata did,” he said. While Subrata is the only minister who had earlier been part of S S Ray’s cabinet in the early 70s, Dasmunsi had been his political guru. It was Subrata who had groomed Mamata when she was a leader in Chhatra Parishad, the Congress’ student wing in the State.
Speaking to Express, Subrata said on Wednesday, “We know whom the people would bless. Many might say anything but Mamata will remain in power for long with the blessings of the masses. She is more than one hundred per cent honest like Gandhiji and has no material wants or demands.”
Subrata is one of the few whom Mamata addresses as “Dada” (elder brother).