KCR & Mamata Banerjee are two sides of the same coin
Kalavakuntala Chandrashekar Rao or KCR is a politician of different qualities which are similar to the traits of no other Indian diplomats than Mamata Banerjee. Both are chief ministers. They have many things in common with each other. They are more or less the same in behavior and leadership. Amazing similarities are found in their political careers too. The way they react to the opponent is strikingly similar. The story of KCR’s rise to political power bears similarity to that of Mamata Banerjee’s. They seem to be no different from each other in struggle, resolution, determination and impulsiveness.
Both CM of Telangana and CM of West Bengal parted their ways from the political parties that they had started their careers with. They founded their own parties – Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC) respectively. Their relentless struggle to safeguard their existence, keep their heads high, pursue their interests and carve a niche in the dog-eat-dog world of politics makes an inspirational story. Their eventful political careers touched the dizzying heights of success with fulfillment of their long-cherished dreams of absolute powers.
Mamata Banerjee’s victory over the 34-year old Communist Party of India (Marxist) led Left Front government in Bengal, and KCR’s success in bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh to create a separate state of Telangana are two of the watershed moments in the history of Indian politics.
If we take a look at their interest in other fields than politics, they share some likes in common with each other. Both of them have the same regionally patriotic bent of mind that basks in the glory of their own mother tongues and native cultures. When both came to power, both seemed to have patronized festivities and prioritized cultural development in their own states. K Chandrashekar Rao is a masters of arts in Telugu literature from Osmania University. Mamata Banerjee is unbeatable in her love for Bengali literature and Rabindrasangeet though she holds a post graduate degree in Islamic History from the University of Calcutta.
In a few days of her coronation as Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee declared the date of Rabindranath Tagore’s death a regional holiday. The supremacy of her passion for Bengali language, literature and culture rules over the streets of Kolkata when she marches with school children on the occasion of Rabindranath Tagore’s birth and death anniversaries. Kolkata became the city of joy in true sense of cultural celebration, under her leadership. Usually, the city glitters overnight with the endless trails of light for a few days of Durga Puja, the biggest cultural extravaganza in Bengal. Didi made it permanent by having had trident lights installed even in the seedy lanes and alleys, at a whopping cost which adds to Kolkata Municipality’s overheads every month.
Hyderabad experienced more or less the same this festive season after its umbilical cord with Andhra Pradesh was cut down and tied with Telangana. As it was first festive season of Telangana this year, KCR declared a 10-day long holiday for the government employees in order to fill them with cultural exuberance for Bathukamma celebration during Navaratri. The celebration of Bathukamma as the major festival of Telangana manifested itself through flowery and glittery adornment of Hyderabad City. Trails of festive light were laid down along the length and breadth of the cityscape to make Hyderabad look bright, confident and prosperous as the promising capital of India’s youngest state.
Sometimes, Mamata Banerjee passes directives without giving a second thought to their fruitfulness or consequences. When she became the supreme Didi of Bengal, she mandated the municipality to paint Kolkata in her favorite color blue. Red, which was the theme of the city during the regime of the Left Front Party, is her pet hate. Recently, her government proposed to offer full waiver of property tax to the residents of Kolkata if their houses and apartments were painted in white and blue. Such directives are nothing but her whims that common people living in her territory are bound to cater to. Likewise, KCR’s Telangana Government declared two day power holiday for industries to cope with power crisis in the state, which would be a compromise on the image and reputation of Brand Hyderabad.
Both the chief ministers show zero tolerance to criticism by public and the Opposition. Mamata Banerjee is in the habit of calling her critics Maoists, while KCR minces no words to label his critics anti-Telangana. Political commentators, at times, draw comparison between KCR and Mamata Banerjee on ground of their intolerance to criticism. KCR is disliked for his “hate speeches” meant for the opponent, where as Didi is infamous for her impulsive behavior in public. Even media is not in good books of either of them. When KCR hit out at TV9 for airing a satire on newly-elected Telangana legislators, he was quoted threatening, “to bury the media 10km under the earth if it insults Telangana.” Recently, media has received a hit back from Mamata Banerjee for publishing critical news, articles and columns about Saradha Chit Fund Scam, which mars the image of West Bengal, according to her.
They share the same fate as both of them have seen some of their supporters and well-wishers turn against them. KCR faced opposition from civil rights activists such as G Haragopal and Varavara Rao among the ardent supporters of TRS. These two civil rights activists supported K Chandrashekar R in the struggle for a separate state for four decades. The same happened to Mamata Banerjee when Mahasweta Devi, a renowned writer, human rights activist and social critic who had actively campaigned in support of her Trinamool Congress party during the West Bengal Assembly elections in 2011, called her government a Fascist one. Even Kabir Suman, one of the TMC party leaders and supporters, had got into a tiff with the Mamata Banerjee government.
Both CM of Telangana and CM of West Bengal are dreamers. Transformation of Hyderabad and Kolkata into world-class cities is the vision that they have in common. But, the model city on KCR’s mind is different from that on Didi’s mind. KCR is looking to develop Hyderabad as an international shopping destination on lines of Singapore by inviting the who’s who of global brands to trade in the city, while Mamata Banerjee is all set to transform Kolkata into the London of India at any cost. She has already commissioned the construction of Kolkata Eye on the lines of London Eye (the Ferris Wheel Observatory) for a whopping 300 crores.
Both K Chandrashekar Rao and Mamata Bannerjee are optimistic about the future and sanguine about the development of their respective states.
Telangana’s Champion – Blink, a supplement of The Hindu BusinessLine
Two-day Power Holiday in Telangana – Saddahaq.com
Mamata Banjeree blames media owners & opponents – Dnaindia.com