West Bengal elections 2021: Game on as PM Narendra Modi, CM Mamata Banerjee trade blows

By Express News Service
KOLKATA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘’Didi-O-Didi’’ remark while attacking West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has become Trinamool Congress’s political tool to woo the women voters in the state who form 49 per cent of the total 7.2 crore electorates. The TMC on Sunday alleged the remark not only humiliated Mamata but also insulted Bengal’s women.

While attacking the Bengal CM on the issue of the ruling party’s alleged corruption and barring the Centre schemes, Modi preferred to use his latest remark in all the rallies that he addressed in Bengal in the recent past. Aiming to gain the support of women electorates, Modi used the newly coined remark (a Bengali-styled call to draw attention) to highlight how Mamata deprived Bengal’s homemakers of the Centre’s drinking water project.

‘‘The way the Prime Minister used the remark is nothing other than a taunt. It is an insult to our chief minister, who is the only woman administrative head of a state across the country. He (Modi) also insulted Bengal’s woman by this remark. The way he utters the remark, sometimes lowering voice abnormally, doesn’t fit the Bengali style of seeking the attention of elder sisters,’’ said TMC minister Shashi Panja.

A section of BJP leaders admitted that Modi’s Didi-O-Didi remark has not gone down well in the state. ‘‘The Prime Minister has good oratory skills and it catches the attention of the masses. The BJP, on most occasions, gets benefits from Modi’s speech. But his latest use of Didi-O-Didi for Mamata Banerjee has not gone well in the state’s women electorates,’’ said a leader of the saffron camp’s Bengal chapter.

Sources in the TMC said it asked the party’s IT cell to circulate Modi’s latest remark portraying it as an insult to Bengal’s women.

Eyeing the support of the women in Bengal, Mamata took several initiatives before the elections and floated a new slogan Bangla Nijer Meyeke Chay (Bengal wants its own daughter) to sharpen her attack on the BJP by branding her arch-rival as a party of outsiders. The slogan was aimed to portray Mamata as the chief ministerial candidate for the third-term in Bengal.

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She launched a new health insurance scheme, Swastha Sathi, which was issued to the women member of a family. In the manifesto, Mamata announced monthly financial grant of Rs 500 and Rs 1,00 for the women belong to SC/ST community and financially backward class.

‘‘All these moves were to woo the women electorates. Even during her election campaign, she (Mamata) offers pranam to the feet of the women electorates as s symbol of gratitude when she describes her difficulty to address rallies with broken foot. When she is respecting the women of the state, Modi is insulting her with his Didi-O-Didi remark. We are going to miss this opportunity to strengthen our attempt to bring the women voters in our fold,’’ said a TMC leader.