Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mamata greets people on Facebook video post

KOLKATA, October 27, 2012

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee posted a video of hers on her official Facebook page on Friday, adding yet another dimension to what has clearly emerged as her preferred platform for communicating with the people.

For more than four months, a mix of season's greetings, condolence messages, jibes at politicians, and Ms. Banerjee's views on political developments have all found expression in her posts on the social networking website.

In the thick of negotiations ahead of the presidential poll, Ms. Banerjee made her debut on Facebook in June this year — her first post quoted a poem penned by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, her second reiterated her support to the former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, as the candidate for her party.

From the very beginning, Ms. Banerjee had made it clear that people would have to keep a vigil on Facebook to be updated on her views on issues, be it political or general.

As reporters sought her comment on the announcement by Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav that Pranab Mukherjee would be his party's nominee, Ms. Banerjee had merely said: "Whatever I have to say, I have said on Facebook."

Thus began an extensive online campaign, with Ms. Banerjee hitting out against the "backroom deal-making" and "Machiavellian manipulations and machinations" that had come in the way of supporting Mr. Kalam's candidature.

Since then, Ms. Banerjee's comments on nearly every political development, regardless of it being a hike in the price of fuels, the recent economic reforms announced by the Centre, or the decision to withdraw support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, have been made on Facebook.

In the wake of her decision to walk out of the UPA, there would invariably be a post every day where she hit out at the Centre.

And more recently, she stirred up a controversy by sharing a letter written to her by Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh, which she described as "clearly vindictive, unethical and unconstitutional." The post received likes from more than 5,500 persons and more than 2,200 comments.

Ms. Banerjee is also able to demonstrate "another side" to her personality, as she recently did, when she uploaded a photograph of a sketch that she had made ahead of the Durga Puja festival. She has also used it to post condolence messages for the birth and death anniversaries of important personalities.

In Friday's video, Ms. Banerjee greeted everyone on the last day of the Durga Puja festival. Characteristically, Ms. Banerjee is facing the camera, but her eyes are glancing around the room without directly looking at it. It has already received more than 2,700 likes and nearly 700 comments.
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