Didi trying to beard the lion in his den?

| Updated: July 21, 2021 9:32 pm

Having vanquished the mighty Narendra Modi and Amit Shah in the rough and tumble of West Bengal politics, the maverick Mamata Banerjee wants to try a hand at bearding the lion in his den — Invincible Gujarat.

More significant than whether Didi succeeds in Gujarat is that she is sending a strong message to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister that she could even contemplate testing the waters in their home state.

The first indications were available on Wednesday when the Trinamool Congress supremo decided to broadcast her Shahid Din address simultaneously in several states.

Yes, including in Gujarat. Gujaratis pinched themselves in disbelief when hoardings came up in their language that Didi will address them too. The fine print stated the hoarding was put up by Jeetendra Kumar Khadayata, the Gujarat convenor of the All India Trinamool Congress. The first baby step then.

When contacted, Khadayata said he was appointed the convenor “just about a couple of days ago” through a letter from AITC’s national spokesperson Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, who asked him to see if he could organise live telecasts of Didi’s Shahid Divas speech in various districts of Gujarat “wherever possible.”

Khadayata, who was associated for two decades with the Godhra unit of the Congress and quit two days ago, said, “Well, since I have become the convenor just two days ago and did not have the time to organise this across the State, but we did watch her speech live on an LED screen at a place in Ahmedabad’s Isanpur area.”  

He admitted, “right now we have only 15-20 members, but we have just begun.” Khadayta added, “We wanted to organise the programme in Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat but we could not. There was heavy rain in Surat.”

Meanwhile, the TMC’s hoarding in Ahmedabad’s Geeta Mandir was removed late Tuesday night.

“After I learnt from the media that the hoarding was removed, I am trying to find out about it from the agency through which we had got it done. I will inform our national leaders about this,” he said. The hoardings in Surat and Vadodara are still there.

So, along with AAP, AIMIM, NCP and even BSP, there is one more player on Gujarat’s turf.

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