Eye on polls, Mamata Banerjee launches party’s new Hindi cell on Hindi Diwas
India observes Hindi Diwas on September 14, the day on which the Constituent Assembly adopted Hindi as an official language in 1949Updated: Sep 14, 2020 16:47 IST
In a bid to woo Hindi-speaking voters in some of West Bengal’s urban, semi-urban and industrial belts where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bagged seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Monday launched an all-new three-tier Hindi cell of her party.
India observes Hindi Diwas on September 14, the day on which the Constituent Assembly adopted Hindi as one of the official languages in 1949.
Dinesh Trivedi, former Lok Sabha member from Barrackpore, one of these industrial belts, has been appointed chairman of the restructured Hindi cell which will have separate committees at state, district and community block levels.
The decision, senior TMC leaders said, was based on recommendations made by election strategist Prashant Kishor.
Kishor, who earlier helped the BJP, Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and YSR Congress win elections, was roped in by Banerjee after the BJP won 18 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats in 2019. The TMC’s tally came down from 34 seats to 22. The BJP poses a challenge to Banerjee in the run-up to the 2021 assembly polls.
Though Banerjee gave official language status to Hindi in 2012, within a year of coming to power, the TMC’s old Hindi cell was practically non-functional, party leaders said. Vivek Gupta has been made president of the new cell.
Banerjee on Monday afternoon reached out to the Hindi-speaking population with her tweets on Hindi Diwas.
“Warm wishes on #HindiDiwas. Bengal is a land of inclusivity and through our persistent efforts we have proudly inculcated Tagore’s values of ‘Unity in Diversity’.GoWB has taken various initiatives to strengthen Hindi Education, Culture and Welfare of the community in Bengal,” she wrote.
“GoWB has constantly persevered to undertake inclusive development for all by giving recognition to Hindi, Urdu, Gurmukhi, Ol Chiki, Rajbanshi, Kamtapuri, Kurukh languages. I urge the Centre to follow suit by also including Bengali as a classical language in NEP 2020,” said her second tweet.
Trivedi too held a press conference where he spoke in Hindi and talked about the recognition Banerjee has given to ethnic languages.
“The reconstituted Hindi cell will have a three-tier structure… We believe this would ensure greater representation to people from the Hindi community within the party, provide a platform to make suggestions, address their grievances and make them active stakeholders in Smt Mamata Banerjee’s cause for furthering all-round development in Bengal,” the TMC said in a statement.
“The Hindi Cell would actively strive towards strengthening Hindi education, culture and overall welfare of the community in Bengal. We believe the work that began in 2011, will only get greater impetus through this reconstituted Hindi cell,” the statement added.
In 2019, Trivedi lost the Barrackpore seat to Arjun Singh who left the TMC and joined the BJP. Singh’s son and brother are legislators from two assembly segments in Barrackpore. Among the other BJP-controlled Lok Sabha constituencies that have a substantial Hindi-speaking population are Midnapore, Asansol and Darjeeling.
Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh, who is the MP from Midnapore, was in Delhi on Monday to attend the Lok Sabha.
“All these years Banerjee had been saying that Bengali and Bengal will prevail over others. Now she is suddenly giving plum posts to Hindi-speaking leaders. A party cannot run like this. She is trying to copy the BJP but minus the policies that we follow,” Ghosh told reporters in Delhi.
“It appears that Banerjee wants to use the Hindi language to counter religious polarisation,” said Kolkata-based political science professor Udayan Bandopadhyay.