The dynamic and commanding Rakhi Mitra is rising as one of the leading faces of opposition in West Bengal. She started off as an active politically-charged social media user and has not become the State Secretary, Mohila Morcha at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), West Bengal.
Social Onion sits down to have a little chit chat with her:
State Secretary, Mohila Morcha at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). That’s quite the heavy weight title out there. So, what is that you aim to achieve with this post?
With any post, come a lot of responsibilities, especially when you belong to one of the biggest national parties of the country. As you are aware, BJP is a regimented party, where every karyakarta’s role is defined. Hence, even my post has a defined role, and I am not only the State Secretary but also the observer of North suburban Kolkata, which has nine Vidhan Sabha seats under it, and my aim is to make sure that our party wins all the seats that come under this zone. In the elections of 2019, we had failed to get even a single Lok Sabha seat from Kolkata, so it is our duty and job to ensure that in the upcoming elections, the same does not repeat.
Let us when did your political journey start.
I was always a sanghi-minded person but could not join politics due to my early marriage, my husband’s transferrable job and then eventually, raising my daughter. Once all these duties were done, I decided to officially join BJP because when my husband was transferred to Kolkata, I could clearly understand that Bengal had changed a lot. It was no longer the “Shonar Bangla” that we used to hear about as a probashi Bengali. I felt that, as a Bengali, it was my duty to bring forth the changes required in Bengal.
Why BJP? The popular notion about West Bengal is that it is the hub of communist ideology in India, perhaps second only to Kerala. Why encouraged you to swim against the tide?
When I was growing up, it was Atal Behari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani who were my idols. L.K. Advani was the one who awoke the sense of Hindutva within us with his Rath Yatra. Being a probashi Bengali, I thank my stars that I did not grow up in Kolkata, and as such did not imbibe communism. Due to my husband’s job and travelling to multiple places in the country, the tide for me was never communism, and by the time we came and settled in Kolkata, communism was already on its way out.
Will you be contesting the elections next year?
Being a BJP karyakarta, I leave it to the discretion of my party to decide whether I am capable of contesting and winning an election or not.
A lot of political violence going on especially ahead of the elections. Don’t you feel scared?
West Bengal has always been a hub of political violence. In recent times, BJP has been in the scenario and hence, the workers have been getting attacked since the Panchayat elections. CPM and Congress are not big political rivals for TMC currently, and due to the fact that BJP is its biggest political rival, BJP is getting attacked regularly. As party workers, we know that as the elections get closer, the violence is only going to increase, and we are going to lose more lives. We have already lost 120+ karyakartas in the last 2 years, and at this point, we know the worst that can happen to us is death, and that does not scare us, because even if we are killed, the change is still going to happen.
You have huge followership on Social Media, and many of your videos have gone viral. What motivated you to talk politics through Facebook instead of sharing cute picture of dogs and cats?
I am always thankful and grateful towards my followers on social media, as they have been the ones who have been listening to and appreciating my political discourse. It was actually during this lockdown that I realised that people like to person rather than reading a long post. I pick up issues that affect the common people and speak about them, and that is probably the reason my posts have gone viral, for example, the post on Firhad Hakim (Mayor of Kolkata) when he compared the Indian Army to squirrels, the post on CESC and their exorbitant billing charges which affected the common man.
Watch Rakhi Mitra’s videos here.
How do you handle trolls and negativity?
Previously, I used to react to trolls and answer them, but then I realised that what was more important was me raising my voice for the issues faced by the common people rather than spending my time focusing and reacting to the negative trolls.
How do you judge the political situation of Bengal?
Bengal is, in my opinion, ready for a change in its political scenario. 35 years of communism and 10 years of TMC have ruined Bengal, and the people of Bengal have realised that they want Bengal to develop at the same pace as the rest of the country.
What are the areas of improvement in Bengal that you and your party strive to bring a change in?
There is a lot of works to be done in Bengal, and multiple areas to work in. We would like to bring in more manufacturing industries, develop and encourage the tourism industry, which would include medical and spiritual tourism as well, expand the medical infrastructure, and make Bengal an education and logistics hub.
Why should people of Bengal vote the BJP in the upcoming elections?
West Bengal has given a chance to the Congress, to the CPI(M) and to the TMC. We have seen the state of Bengal go from bad to worse over the years, and how one of the most intellectually advanced states suffered from a brain drain. The people of Bengal should give BJP a chance, for the simple reason that the party gets the opportunity to implement the various projects developed by the Central Government, which at present, the people of Bengal are not allowed to get the benefits from. Even a simple health card like Ayushman Bharat is not being allowed to be availed by the people. West Bengal deserves the chance to be developed and for the people of the state to flourish from such development.
Reach Rakhi Mitra on Facebook.