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Arindam Chaudhuri, Editor-in-Chief, 4Ps B&M Editor-in-Chief
Arindam Chaudhuri
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Arindam Chaudhuri, Editor-in-Chief, 4Ps B&M
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The Mamata Banerjee Leadership Theory of Aggressive Action with Commitment for Change
Is Mamata The Best Indian Political Leader Ever? Also, The Challenges Ahead!
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Writing today’s editorial gives me immense pleasure! My professional area of interest, where I take all my workshops and seminars, is leadership. But with so much rotten occurring around with our leaders, when it came to writing, I have mainly been writing about the pathetic deeds of our leaders instead of what makes a good leader! After a long time, I have got this wonderful opportunity to write on leadership! All thanks to one lady who has finally emerged as a symbol of magnificent leadership in this country! Yes, it’s too soon to be talked about perhaps! But what the heck! I have never been too late to criticise; then why should I be afraid of praising great work, even if it might be too soon?

So let me start with a brief background. Having personally interacted with a considerable number of senior leaders who were taking keen interest in Bengal, I know there was one key speculation that was happening around Mamata Banerjee before she threw the CPM out of power recently; that too after a 34 year CPM rule – out of which, barring a great first ten years, the rest can be easily termed as the greatest demonic and Stalinist rule in the history of independent India (in the cover story dated June 19, 2011, of our sister publication TSI, we told you how skeletons are being dug out from the close vicinity of CPM leaders’ residences). The speculation was that in world history, whenever such Stalinist rule of repression has ended, it has ended with a massive revenge mission with thousands of lives being lost, since those who have been oppressed and exploited for so long almost logically seek their pound of flesh! In the case of Bengal, there is not one intellectual – including the strongest of supporters of Mamata – that I met who did not forecast a massive series of bloodshed post Mamata’s win. I was in a Statesman forum sometime back with Mamata Banerjee, where panelists were openly telling her about this fear of theirs! And they had a massive point. Apart from past global history to support their point, they had one more huge reason. Those grassroots workers who were working now for Trinamool comprised a huge number of ex-CPM goons who had recently changed sides, yet not necessarily their murderous character traits. At the forum, when such speculation was being paraded, Mamata had a look of disdain; and quite rightly so. Here, she was almost on the verge of creating history with her life of struggle and sacrifice, and there were these people who were questioning her even before she had arrived – almost negating the import of her humongous effort!

 
Cut to exactly a month after her historic win, all those critics are biting the dust! In the last 30 days, if one considers that there are around 40,000 villages in Bengal, then a minimum of one person dead per village, that is 40,000 deaths by now should have been the expected massacre, given the anger that the people of Bengal were seething with. Increase that ten times, and a figure of 400,000 deaths could have even made the potential massacre a repeat of Indonesia. However, the death count as of now is a mere 16. Never in the history has such a feat been pulled off! And this was possible only and only due to Mamata’s amazing leadership and genuine commitment to bringing about a real change and make Bengal violence-free! One of her statements that best highlighted the same was, “We want ‘badal’ which means change, and not ‘badla’ which means revenge”. The instruction to her party workers was very clear. No post-poll killings. In fact, she banned any kind of massive victory procession as well, to see to it that her instructions were adhered to. Today, a month later, it can be safely said that Mamata’s leadership clearly ensured that a killing spree that was waiting to happen was avoided – and this is her single biggest achievement!

It however doesn’t end here at that! It’s what she is doing on a daily basis by leading from the front that is creating the biggest impact. She starts her work sharp at ten in the morning and ends office at ten in the night. This means that the office staff, the bureaucracy... everyone is being made to work as hard. True, this cannot continue forever, but even if it continues for a few months, Bengal could be a changed place in terms of the work culture of the government. She has kept some of the key portfolios with herself – like Health, Home, Hill Affairs et al. And this, she is making full use of by starting the day with surprise visits to any and every place that concerns the ministries in her hand. She has already visited six hospitals, caught doctors coming late and initiated strict action. Officials have no idea of who could be the next in her firing line and are on their toes trying their best not to get caught on the wrong foot! Her genuine commitment has given the Gorkhaland leaders an opportunity to come to an agreement, because they are realising that her promises are not empty.
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