An old video of Mahua Moitra giving a ‘finger’ to the journalist Arnab Goswami has re-emerged and taken social media by storm. Mahua Moitra of Trinamool Congress has garnered a lot of attention because of her maiden speech as a Member of Parliament which stated various facts and figures, criticising the emerging fascism under the BJP government. This former investment banker who is the first time MP from Krishnanagar, a parliamentary constituency in West Bengal, is quite famous for her heated arguments with TV anchors. Women make up 14% in the newly elected Lok Sabha and amongst these 78 women, the first time MP, Mahua Moitra stands as a fierce opposition to BJP.
Mahua Moitra spent most of her childhood in Assam and Kolkata, where she did her schooling. At a young age, she left for USA in order to pursue her studies in economics and maths at the Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Apart from working as an investment banker in US and UK, she was also the vice president of JP Morgan. She quit her job and returned to India in 2008 to build a career in politics. The speech delivered by this investment banker turned politician on June 25th began with her ‘humbly’ accepting the mandate in favour of the BJP led NDA, and at the same time, it focused on the importance and need to dissent under BJP’s hyper-nationalistic India.
Her maiden speech began by stating that the country is being ‘torn apart’ by a party who has a ‘lust to divide’.
Mahua Moitra began her political journey by working under Rahul Gandhi, who placed her in charge of Youth Congress in West Bengal. Dissatisfied after working with Congress for two years, Mahua switched sides in 2010 by joining the All India Trinamool Congress, led by the West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamta Banerjee. In 2016, she was given an assembly ticket to contest in Kolkata, through which she won the Karimpur assembly seat. She was given the position of general secretary of TMC and also became the spokesperson. In the 2019 elections, she won against BJP’s Kalyan Chaubey by 60,000 votes.
As reported by news source BBC, her recent election campaign took a direct aim at Modi, where she criticised the deadly suicide attack in Kashmir and India’s air raid on Pakistan as a response. She accused BJP’s election propaganda as an attempt to divide Hindus and Muslims. She said that the elections in the past were to change the government, but this election, the focus needed to be about saving the Constitution of India which was under threat. Her maiden speech began by stating that the country is being ‘torn apart’ by a party who has a ‘lust to divide’.
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As opposed to Tejasvi Surya’s speech glorifying PM Modi, Mahua Moitra not only talked about the seven early ‘signs’ of fascism, but also read out poetry and facts in order to back up her arguments. Referring to the poster in Holocaust Memorial Museum of ‘early signs of fascism’, her speech thus indicated many of the issues which have already seeped deep within India under BJP. The seven signs included BJP’s nationalism which is ‘xenophobic’, increase in hate crimes such as the recent lynching that took place in Jharkhand, subjugation of mass media which has been limited to broadcasting propaganda of the ruling party, obsession with national security describing it as fear from the ‘kaala bhoot’, intertwining of government and religion, disdain for the intellectual and the arts, and finally the erosion of independence in the electoral system.
She spoke for 10 minutes despite the ‘professional hecklers’ trying to drown her voice and also demanded the speaker to bring order in the house. She stressed on the Anti-Immigration laws such as the National Registers of Citizens and Citizenship Bill advocated by the BJP government. She criticised the country whose ministers can’t even produce degrees to prove they graduated and want dispossessed people to show papers, as a mockery at Modi and Smriti Irani. Moitra’s speech which silenced BJP members has led to quite a fan following both nationally and internationally.
As reported by The Wire, Mahua Moitra is also one of the few politicians to have waged a legal war against Modi government’s surveillance effort. She filed petitions against the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)’s attempt to map social media accounts to monitor popular sentiment, against Union Home Ministry’s notification that allowed ten government bodies to intercept and monitor any computer and also against Union government’s efforts to snoop into computers being used in West Bengal.
Referring to the poster in Holocaust Memorial Museum of ‘early signs of fascism’, her speech thus indicated that many of the signs have already seeped deep within India under BJP.
As reported by the news source Indian Express, in August 2017 TMC MPs led by MLA Mahua Moitra and a party state minister were stopped by a posse of Assam police when the party attempted to investigate the issue of National Registers of Citizens. Moitra and her team were detained and mishandled by the police at Silchar airport. However, the police also claimed that Mahua Moitra assaulted a few women constables. While many are busy hailing Mahua’s speech as commendable, there are many who are questioning the hypocrisy behind it as TMC led by Mamta Banerjee has also been accused of the same ‘signs of fascism’. As reported by the news source Outlook, there were many merits raised by Moitra in her speech but reflecting on the state of affairs in West Bengal and examining such acts led by her own party TMC needs to be her priority.
Also read in Hindi: महुआ मोइत्रा रातों रात बनीं संसद का चमकता सितारा
Featured Image Source: DNA India