New Delhi: Political pundits are unsure how long Mahua Moitra is going to survive in the unruly jungle of parliamentarians and petty politicians. However, what she has achieved is something which no one has dared to attempt in the recent history of the parliament. She made people across the country sit up and take note.
One of the main accusations against her is that she belongs to the ‘elite’ English speaking class which is said to be not in touch with the ground realities. If she, the argument goes, had given the same speech in Hindi it would have had a greater and more lasting impact.
Some even went to the extent of saying that she belongs to the “class” of Subhas Chandra Bose, Pundit Nehru, Jyoti Basu or Ashok Mitra. She does not belong, the argument went on, to the subaltern class of Modi or even Mamata, her mentor.
But there are others who say that quality of Mahua is “exactly an asset.”
The youngish firebrand politician has graduated in maths and economics from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. As the vice-president of JP Morgan, she has worked in the most competitive atmosphere of London and New York. She returned home about 10 years ago with the sole intention of becoming a politician and work for the welfare of people and the State.
First, she worked with Rahul Gandhi but got bored with the directionless Congress and switched over to Trinamool Congress of Mamata Banerjee.
Her “voice of dissent” in Lok Sabha recently has found admirers in many quarters across the country. The opposition looked feeble after the thumping victory of Narendra Modi-led UPA government. Now, all of a sudden, there is someone on the left side of the honourable speaker. There is someone who is going to ask uncomfortable questions to the government.
Moitra broke the Internet with her maiden speech at the Lok Sabha on June 25. Her speech had quotes from Maulana Abul Kalam Azad to Ramdhari Singh Dinkar.
She later told the BBC that it was her job to “highlight the failings of the government”.
“That is my job and I will do that to the best of my ability,” she added.
Her fiery speech on fascism attracted attention not only from national but international media as well. In addition to the BBC, Australia’s SBS News, too, covered the first-time MP’s “spirited speech”.
In 2015, Verve called her a “stylista” as the magazine included her in the list of best-dressed people in India. Considered a taskmaster known for shaking hands with her voters, Moitra does have a weakness for Bobbi Brown eye pencils and Carnation lip colours. She would “never ever wear flats with a sari,” she claimed.
Moitra finds several similarities between politics and investment banking.
“The three important things you need in investment banking are what you need in politics. The first is hard work — the capacity for both mental and physical labour. The second is self-discipline. Politics is a long road and there are ups and downs. If you’re not disciplined, it’s easy to lose oneself,” she told Rediff News. “And the third is perseverance. In politics, there are many shooting stars but the ones who have tenacity make it.”
The fearless flamboyant Shobhaa De said on her twitter account @DeShobhaa, “Proud proud proud of Mahua Moitra! What a courageous and spell-binding maiden speech!
She’s the woman to watch out for. A political star has arrived!”
Leading journalist Sagarika Ghose said @sagarikaghose: “Sometimes in Parliament, the Constitution comes alive when an MP speaks up strongly for democratic values. Absolutely superb speech from @AITCofficial Mahua Moitra
On the other hand, Jai Aryakuchnahikarta said @awryaditi “Uncles garbling incoherently and loudly while Mahua Moitra speaks truth to power is such a motif for modern India.”
Another twitterati, Jaaved Jaaferi @jaavedjaaferi said, “WOW! WOW! WOW! What an intelligent, impassioned, articulate, brave and kickass speech. This is definitely an MP to look out for. #mahuamoitra you have a new fan #Respect..”
Rohit @itihaasnaama commented, “Remarkable speech by Mahua Maitra @trinamul responding to President’s Speech, Brings up Maulana Azad and defends the Constitution.”
Many have found a hero in the banker-turned-politician. The speech has made her an overnight star. Women are now picturing her as Mamata Banerjee’s successor, the next chief minister of West Bengal, reported The Quint which called Moitra’s Lok Sabha speech “savage” that ended with the following quote from Urdu poet Raahat Indori:
“Jo Aaj saahibe masnad Hain Kal Nahin honge/Kiraaydaar Hain zaati makaan thodi hai
Sabhi ka Khoon shaamil yahan ki mitti me/ Kisi Ke baap ka Hindustan thodi hai? (The man sitting in the throne will leave eventually. It’s not his own house; he is just a tenant. This soil has everybody’s blood in it. Nobody’s father owns India.”