Abhishek Banerjee Launches Vitriolic Attack On Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma, Faces Backlash For Introducing ‘Alien Culture’ To State

Jaideep Mazumdar

Jul 02, 2022, 05:00 PM | Updated 05:00 PM IST

Abhishek Banerjee (Facebook)
Abhishek Banerjee (Facebook)
  • Political rivals and civil society, both, criticised Banerjee for trying to introduce a coarse style of politics to Meghalaya.
  • Trinamool ‘national’ general secretary Abhishek Banerjee launched a virulent attack on Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma in Shillong Wednesday (June 29) while launching a membership drive for his party in the hill state.

    Abhishek, nephew of Trinamool chairperson Mamata Banerjee, hurled slurs at the chief minister, taunted him and accused him of corruption and grave wrongdoings. The Trinamool’s crown prince played on the chief minister’s first name (Conrad) and labelled him ‘Conman Sangma’.

    After inaugurating the Trinamool party office in Shillong, Abhishek addressed a workers’ meeting where he poured vitriol (watch this) on the chief minister and his party--the National People's Party (NPP)--as well as the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) of which the BJP is a constituent.

    Abhishek said that the MDA should be changed to mean ‘My Development Alliance’ since the only development that has taken place in Meghalaya over the past five years has been Conrad Sangma’s “personal development”.

    Accusing the NPP and the MDA of neglecting development, Abhishek said in typical Trinamool’s acerbic fashion that the NPP-led government was a proxy for the BJP . “He (Conrad) is a mere puppet in the hands of the BJP,” said Abhishek (read this and this).

    Alleging that “Meghalaya had become a haven for the corrupt”, Abhishek said that the state was being run from Delhi by Gujaratis. “It is shameful that the chief minister is busy attending dinner parties in Delhi while the people of his state are suffering,” said Abhishek, alluding to Sangma going to Delhi for a meeting and the heavy rains-induced landslides that have struck the state.

    The Trinamool leader, who spoke in the presence of former chief minister Mukul Sangma (who is the leader of the Trinamool legislature party), state Trinamool chief Charles Pyngrope and many others said that the much-touted ‘double engine government’ had become a ‘double heist and double robbery’ racket. He termed the NPP as a ‘virus’ and said his party (the Trinamool) was the only vaccine against the virus.

    Abhishek’s diatribes against the chief minister, the MDA and the BJP were delivered in his aunt Mamata Banerjee’s signature combative and angry style.

    And that has attracted a lot of backlash in Meghalaya where political speeches are devoid of ugliness and unpleasantness. In the hill state, politicians don’t abuse each other and criticisms are mouthed in a gentlemanly fashion without any abuse and malice.

    The NPP was quick to accuse Abhishek Banerjee of trying to introduce an ‘alien’ and unwanted culture to the peaceful hill state. “What pains the NPP is the culture which the Trinamool wishes to bring to Meghalaya: the culture of abuse, hostility, mud-slinging and misinformation. This is against our culture,” the NPP said in a statement.

    The statement went on to add: “Such petty pathways to gain some headway will be rejected by the people of Meghalaya. Our state is not one where electioneering is full of violence and aggression, something not alien to the campaigning style of the Trinamool as already demonstrated in many previous instances”.

    The BJP state unit also came down heavily on Abhishek. State president Ernest Mawrie said that if Abhishek Banerjee has proof that Conrad Sangma has indulged in corruption, he should file an FIR against the chief minister. “Otherwise, Banerjee has to apologise to the people of Meghalaya for maligning the chief minister,” he said.

    Civil society leaders, academicians, politicians and others were left shocked by Abhishek Banerjee’s diatribes, which they found extremely distasteful and unacceptable. They agreed that the Trinamool’s style of politics and language of abuse should be unwelcome in Meghalaya.

    Albert J Diengdoh, a teacher of political science in a college in Shillong, told Swarajya that the language used by Abhishek Banerjee and the wild allegations he made against the chief minister were repugnant. “We in Meghalaya are not used to such language, and this combative, bitter and nasty speeches full of abuse and slurs should never be encouraged,” he said.

    Retired bureaucrat Elphinstone Marak said that Abhishek’s speech was shocking and went against Meghalaya’s culture. “His party leaders from Meghalaya who were present while he was speaking ought to have counselled him to use sober and decent language and not make wild accusations,” said Marak.

    Joyce M. Sangma, a businessman who is a supporter of the NPP, said: “The Trinamool is infamous for its violent politics. Mamata Banerjee is always angry and abusive. Trinamool is synonymous with poll violence, attacks on and killing of opposition supporters and its chief is known as an authoritarian figure who does not tolerate dissent. Meghalaya does not need Trinamool’s brand of politics,” he told Swarajya from Tura, the second largest city in Meghalaya.

    Social activist and commentator Margaret Nongrum said Abhishek Banerjee’s speeches and conduct in Meghalaya “left a bad taste in the mouth”. “He came across as abusive, angry, intolerant and indecent. He spoke like a politician who has no respect for his political rivals and thus came across as a person who will not hesitate to sanction violence against his rivals. Meghalaya is much better off without him and his party’s style of politics,” she said.

    BJP state president Mawrie said it was ironic that Abhishek was speaking of corruption when he himself is under the scanner for various corrupt deals. “Bengal under the Trinamool has become infamous for corruption, extortion, hooliganism and political violence. The state is badly governed and deeply in debt. So the Trinamool, instead of preaching, should concentrate in Bengal,” said Mawrie.

    Abhishek Banerjee, felt a cross-section of citizens of Meghalaya who spoke to Swarajya, had no business going to the hill state and speaking the language of intolerance, hatred and abuse. Margaret Nongrum put it succinctly: “We don’t want Meghalaya to become another Bengal which has become notorious for political violence, corruption, misgovernance and rising poverty under the Trinamool. While everyone is free to practise politics anywhere, what we definitely don’t need is the Trinamool’s style of politics”.

    Jaideep Mazumdar is an associate editor at Swarajya.

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