Mamata Banerjee, the daughter of the late Rajiv Gandhi and a prominent member of the RSS, has become the face of women’s rights in the country. The reason for her elevation to this rank is her historic achievement of becoming the first female governor of a state. A renowned human rights lawyer and passionate fighter for the rights of women, she is now the Chairperson of the women and child Development (WCD) committee. This ensures that women will have a direct role to play in the running of the state and form of government.
In her first term as a Governor, she has shown her keen interest in the welfare of the women and children of the state. She has also demonstrated her commitment towards the betterment of the condition of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities in the state. Earlier, Mamata Banerjee was associated with the RSS. However, she maintained her association with the women of the state and launched numerous welfare programs targeting the development of the weaker sections of the society.
The RSS refused to give support to her appointment as Governor because of her Christian faith and for her stance on issues of equal gender rights. However, she maintained her popularity among the women of the state by repeatedly visiting different universities and colleges in the state to impart training in various fields. Later on, she went to study law at the Baruch College, Hyderabad. Despite many allegations against her, Mamata Banerjee remained unchallenged and even strengthened her position in the party, in light of the increasing number of defections in the Congress.
The Left parties distanced themselves from her remarks and refused to support her appointment as Governor. Though it was later accepted by the Left parties, the impact on the cadres was hardly felt. Some of them distanced themselves from the party, while others joined the Left parties. There were a few prominent leaders who refused to support her appointment. Among these leaders were the former Chief Minister of West Bengal, Ms. Anjumuri Roy, and CPI leader, Goolang Bose.
The ruling party, the Left Front, distanced itself from Mamata Banerjee’s comments on the reservation bill for backward class women. However, the party did not withdraw its support from her. Instead, it extended its support to help her in governing the state. The chief minister, Mr. Chowdhry, also conveyed his disappointment over Mamata Banerjee’s remarks and asked the governor to reconsider her appointment. However, the party refused to back away from its stand on the issue and said that there were other priorities in the state and there was no talk of forming a government on the demand of Mamata Banerjee.
Though the party never came out with an immediate reply to Mamata Banerjee’s controversial statements, but the CM made a strong statement on the issue. He told reporters, “I condemn all forms of discrimination irrespective of class, caste or gender. This government has been representative of women’s right throughout my term as chief minister. We will continue to work towards that goal”.