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The Icon That is Mahua Moitra

Mahua Moitra, Global Youth Voice, gyv

Mahua Moitra quit her job in London to pursue a political career in India

Mahua Moitra is a first-time member of Parliament from Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. She was the vice-president at investment bank JP Morgan in New York and London before joining politics in India. Moitra has emerged as a star politician after showing her courage to stand up to the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party politicians in Parliament. She began with a fiery address that thrashed Prime Minister Modi’s claims about “good days” and BJP’s hyper-nationalism. Mahua Moitra, a first-time member of Parliament from Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, quit her high-profile job in London in 2008 to join politics. She called out for dissent in the Lok Sabha. The MP warned the BJP government of “danger signs of early fascism.”

Mahua Moitra, Global Youth Voice, gyv
Mahua Moitra

What her Alma Mater has to say about her

Moitra studied economics and mathematics from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. The Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College shared Moitra’s first parliamentary address on its Facebook page. The same was done by the college’s news and media page with a news article titled “Mahua Moitra ‘98 speech decries fascism.”

There was no comment on Moitra’s days at the college. The author of the news article, Christian Feuerstein, director of News and Media Relations, could not give any feed. There was no personal recollection about her as she studied almost 20 years ago.

The Alumnae Association members paid glorifying tributes to her on its Facebook page. They read the news about her speech in Indian Parliament. “Absolutely outstanding!” noted alumna Susan Anderson. “Congratulations Mahua for making a difference in the world and being inspiring!” added Helena Tavares Kennedy. “Bravo!!,” said Diana Duane Coyne.

Introduction to politics

Moitra states that for her joining politics was not a career but more of a vocation. The inspiration for this shift came from within. She once reportedly told an incident to her ex-husband, who according to WikiBio is Lars Brorson. She said that she does not want to go for her 20-year college reunion as a VP or someone from JP Morgan.

As per a report in thecitizen.in, after returning to India in 2008 to join politics Moitra worked with Rahul Gandhi. She worked with him for a while and was in charge of the Youth Congress in West Bengal. But after some time she resigned, on the contemplation that the party was not really going anywhere.

A boost in her political career

Mahua Moitra celebrated election victory with her supporters on May 23. Moitra contested and won the seat in the general election as an All India Trinamool Congress party candidate. She stood from Krishnanagar constituency in West Bengal. “Victory celebrations everywhere.” she posted on her Facebook page. “We are leading by 63218 votes after all rounds of counting. A big thank you to all of you.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee got Moitra into the party in 2010. 6 years later she gave her a West Bengal Assembly ticket from Kolkata and she won the seat. TMC promoted her to general secretary of the TMC and its spokesperson. Moitra took on the Lok Sabha elections this year and came out a winner. She emerged a first time MP from the Krishnanagar parliamentary constituency in West Bengal. Moitra remembers that her parents were very upset when she quit her job in London overnight and came back to Kolkata, her native home.

Moitra’s moment of glory

Mahua Moitra’s ten-minute speech in the Lok Sabha went viral. The parliamentarian criticized the government single handedly and point-by-point in a rare moment unseen in recent years. Moitra said after her speech on June 25 that she accepted the people’s mandate in favor of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance. But she presented a strong case for dissent. She said that “the very nature of the overwhelming-ness of this mandate makes it necessary for the voices of dissent to be heard.” Moitra added that there are no “natural checks and balances in the Lok Sabha” because of the Opposition’s reduced strength.

In her Lok Sabha iconic address, Moitra said there is a reckless nationalism that is seeping into the nation. “It is superficial, it is xenophobic, and it is narrow. It’s the lust to divide and not the desire to unite,” adding that the government and religion are now intertwined. “Do I even need to speak about this? Need I remind you that we have redefined what it means to be a citizen?” she asked, with the addition that “ They have amended laws to target Muslims.”

The controversy

Evidently the speech received thousands of views on Twitter and YouTube. Trolls targeted her by saying she had plagiarized her speech from American commentator Martin Longman. Trolls alleged that she copied Longman’s 2017 article, titled “The 12 Early Signs of Fascism.”

In an ironic twist, Longman himself denied the plagiarism charge against Moitra on Twitter. He tweeted, “I’m internet famous in India because a politician is being falsely accused of plagiarizing me. It’s kind of funny, but right-wing as***les seem to be similar in every country.”

Moitra’s sense of style became the talk of town

Verve magazine in a report in September 2014 pointed out a lesser known fact about the politician. The report said that for a full-time politician with the Trinamool Congress, “Mahua is one stylish woman.” The magazine had a comment in its September 2014. “Verve and Louis Vuitton revisit the charming city of Kolkata to catch up with eight charming women, and discover their love for fashion, diamonds, high heels, eye-catching arm candy and much more.”

“A charismatic personality, Mahua never goes out without her crisp cotton saris and a Louis Vuitton slinging on her arm. As she enters the suite in a beautiful Rahul Mishra creation from his latest Fall/Winter collection, Mahua doesn’t fail to impress from the start to the end.” This was the statement in the magazine after shooting her in Taj Bengal.

An icon in her own right

“I need to wear my clothes rather than the other way around. Nothing should be too overwhelming. When I’m working, I wear only saris in natural and handloom fabrics from Bengal and Jharkhand regions. For an evening out I prefer dresses. I wear a lot of Indian designers like Rahul Mishra, Anamika Khanna, Dev R Nil and international labels like Moschino and Burberry to name a few.” She stated in the magazine.

“My first Louis Vuitton, a monogram Alma, was a gift from my husband in London. What I love about Kolkata women is that they are happy in their own skin and don’t try too hard to fit in. From a young college student in chappals and a ganji to a bureaucrat in a starched cotton sari, each woman is aware that the clothes do not define who she is. My favorite piece in my wardrobe is my mother’s blue wedding sari.” Moitra is a strong woman who does not shy away from sporting her style and on the other hand, questioning the government when needed.

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