The group claims that they are not directly associated with the Trinamool Congress.
New Delhi: Taking cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2014 Lok Sabha campaign on social media, a group of young professionals from West Bengal who call themselves “supporters of Mamata didi”, the Chief Minister of West Bengal and chief of Trinamool Congress, has launched a social media campaign earlier this week, pushing for Mamata Banerjee as the Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The group which has professionals and young college students have floated a website “India wants Mamata Di” and claims to have received the support of thousands of college going students and house wives who would be contributing towards the goal of making Mamata Banerjee the Prime Ministerial candidate of the opposition parties in 2024.
The group also claims that they are not directly associated with the Trinamool Congress and is building a community of supporters who believe in the ideology of Mamata Banerjee. The website says that “India Wants Mamata Di (IWM) is a community, believing in the ideology of Hon’ble CM of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee and All India Trinamool Congress, the party that she leads.”
The “Community” has already built a structured organisation with a chairperson as its head along with a president and four vice presidents. Sanghamitra Paul, a housewife and resident of Kolkata, has been appointed the national Chairperson, while Sudip Mukherjee (Raj) as the president, and among the four vice presidents, one is from Tamil Nadu, while another Spandan Gain is a journalist based out of Bengal, and the rest two are professionals working in different sectors.
The IWM also claims to have formed organisations in states like Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Jharkhand and Assam. IWM’s founder President, Sudip Mukherjee (Raj) told The Sunday Guardian that he and his associates believe that Mamata Banerjee would be the best fit for the Prime Ministerial candidate for 2024 and this is the reason they have organised themselves to push for Mamata didi on social media and to put forth the “good” works done by her in Bengal to the people of India.
“We have already formed committees for states mentioned above and we will be engaging with supporters from other states as well. Our goal is to push for Mamata Banerjee and the TMC’s good works to the people of India and social media is the best platform to do that. The idea of having state committees is that we will have set the stage ready for the TMC before the election so that when the time comes, the party does not have to do much work in those states and people would already be knowing the party and its works,” Sudip said.
The website was launched by TMC’s senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP, Derek O’Brien, on 14 May, in Kolkata in the presence of all members of the IWM. IWM estimates that till May this year, it has a support network of 10,000 people from across the country. Following the launch, O’Brien had tweeted, “Splendid. Congratulations to every single member of the @IndiaWantsMB team. It’s been a fabulous dhamaka launch today. Keep going. Good content will always defeat Fake News and empty rhetoric.”
Interestingly, Derek O’Brien was head of the social media team of the TMC before the Prashant Kishor-led I-PAC came into the picture. O’Brien was leading and handling the accounts of the official pages of TMC and had a dedicated team of volunteers working for the TMC under him. However, reports suggest that this was taken away from O’Brien and handed over to Kishor’s I-PAC before the 2021 Assembly elections in Bengal.
The Twitter and Facebook accounts of IWM have already reached over 10,000 followers and have been active with posts that praise the West Bengal government and Mamata Banerjee. However, Sudip and other members of the IWM say that they are not direct members of the TMC currently and are working as professionals.
However, sources within the TMC have indicated that some members of the IWM have met some top leaders of the TMC in Kolkata and have had discussions on strategies on how to push the “Mamata as PM for 2024” narrative aggressively among the youth of India. Sources within TMC also indicated that another round of meeting of the members of IWM with Derek O’Brien and Shantanu Sen had taken place a couple of days back at the residence of Sen in Kolkata.
Political observers from Bengal say that some leaders within the TMC are trying to float a professional group to handle their social media campaign and act as the “shadow” of I-PAC with the intention to counter the influence of I-PAC within the TMC.
Like IWM is doing now, CAG (Citizens for Accountable Governance), led by Prashant Kishor similarly organised a group of young professionals and college going students to launch a nation-wide campaign for then Prime Ministerial Candidate Narendra Modi in 2013. His platform was also responsible for brainstorming and organising events and social connect programmes for Modi with college students and the youths of India. The then young team of Modi was also the first to bring a social media backed campaigning in Indian politics for the first time. The various teams that worked for the BJP and Modi were also the first to bring the concept of public action committee and the use of data into election campaigning, like that of the United States.