Lyricist-poet Javed Akhtar and his actor-wife Shabana Azmi are the recent names to feature in the list of important personalities Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee met during her progressive five-day visit to the national capital. Addressing media persons after the meeting, Akhtar said, “In our little dialogue, she never said that leadership is her primacy. She believes that she wants a Parivartan. Earlier she battled for Bengal and now she wants to protest for a change in India.”
Akhtar said that he understood there “should be a change” in the nation, adding that it is a “matter of shame” that Delhi observed communal riots. “There are so many tensions in the country presently…There is the issue of polarization. Many give aggressive statements…There are incidents of brutality,” the lyricist told the media.
Referring to the meeting with Banerjee, Akhtar stated that it was a “courteous meeting,” and that it is West Bengal’s history that it had “led the revolutionary drives.” He added that he also congratulated the Bengal chief minister for her triumph in the recently ended Assembly elections and that he is “grateful” to her for support in the Royalty bill amendment in order for music, composers, lyricists and songwriters benefitting from the royalty. “The artists and intellectuals of Bengal support Mamata ji,” Akhtar said.
When inquired if Banerjee’s popular “Khela hobe” slogan will echo across India, the lyricist said that it is beyond discussion now. “It does not need testimony,” he added.
Banerjee has been meeting various crucial Opposition leaders since her visit to Delhi, including Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, party leader Rahul Gandhi and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. On Wednesday, following her meeting with Sonia, Banerjee mentioned that in 2021 Lok Sabha elections “poore desh me khela hobe” (game will be on all over the nation).
The chief minister mentioned that during the 2024 general elections, the competition will be between “Prime Minister Narendra Modi versus [the] country.”
She also plead to all Opposition parties to coordinate in the fight against dethroning Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the central ruling dispensation. “It is important for everyone to get together in order to conquer the BJP. Alone, I am nothing – everyone will have to coordinate together. I am not a leader. I am a cadre. I am a person from the street,” she mentioned.