On a day when brothers and sisters in West Bengal were busy celebrating "bhai phonta", the Big Sister who rules the state had trouble in her ranks.
Mamata Banerjee, fondly addressed as Didi (elder sister) by the masses, must not have been amused to hear the prank pulled off by Anupam Hazra, a member of parliament (MP) from Birbhum district, on the state district chief, Anubrata Mondal.
Yesterday Hazra posted on his Facebook page a morphed image of Mondal, wearing a sari, and giving him the traditional bhai phonta like a good sister. It is anyone's guess that the two haven't been on the best of terms.
A while back, Mondal had complained to the TMC high command against Hazra, alleging that he had put a spanner in all development activities in his constituency. After being summoned by Senior leader Derek O' Brien, Hazra had accused Mondal of keeping him away from all events and accused the district party chief's supporters of assault. O'Brien had reportedly warned both and asked them to sort out their differences.
Hazra posted this meme, as he clarified to mark this "occasion of building strong bonding", with a beaming face of Banerjee looking out from at the bottom wishing all and sundry well on bhai phonta.
Hazra urged his followers "not to misinterpret this post..as its a symbolic presentation of love n affection between two people, who once used to share a strong bonding like a family....!!!" This rejoinder was not surprising, given his existing reputation for making explosive comments on social media, for which he had been rebuked by none other than the party supremo.
What happened next is not hard to guess. A furious Mondal told The Indian Express, "He is crazy. He has lost his marbles and that is why he has lost his job as college professor." He added, with a singular lack of irony, "I don't want to react to this." He resolved to report the matter to Didi at once.
After being criticised by the rank and file of TMC members, Hazra posted a 12-minute video, not really to apologise but to explain his stance.
Hazra said his previous post was meant in a "positive spirit" to "symbolise the bonding" he once shared with Mondal. 'Kesto Kaku', as he called Mondal, is surrounded by opportunists who have ruined that bond, he added. "I have been presented as a villain in my own constituency," Hazra bemoaned. "They say that I am never available. How can I be when block presidents have been instructed not to invite me to events?" he asked.
"If you were irked by being depicted as a woman," he told Mondal, "I promise to [put out] another post of me [as] a woman, giving you bhai-phonta."
For those who know Bengali, and have the time and interest, you can watch the video here.
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