This Article is From Jun 26, 2019

7 Signs of Fascism, Says Trinamool's Mahua Moitra In Debut Speech

Mahua Moitra said while she "humbly accepted" the mandate the BJP got, its very size made it essential that the voices of dissent be heard.

Mahua Moitra quoted Maulana Azad in her maiden parliament speech.

New Delhi:

Mahua Moitra, the Trinamool Congress's new legislator, firmly stayed on Twitter trends since last evening with her maiden speech in parliament, where she warned that India is displaying all the signs of fascism displayed in a poster at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. "We have to decide which side of history we want to be on... the side that upholds the constitution or the side that becomes its pallbearers," the 42-year-old lawmaker from West Bengal's Krishnanagar said.

Enumerating and explaining them in a searing speech, Ms Moitra - a former investment banker in the US - said while she "humbly accepted" the mandate the BJP got, its very size made it essential that the voices of dissent be heard.

"You may say that acche din are here and that the sun will never set on the Indian Empire that the government is seeking to build. But then, you are missing the signs. Only if you open your eyes, you will see there are signs everywhere that this country is being torn apart," she said.

Her list of "signs" included "superficial" nationalism that's "searing in the fabric of the country", a "resounding disdain for human rights", suppression of dissent, control of mass media, obsession with national security and intertwining of religion and government.

The "superficial, xenophobic and narrow" nationalism, she said, is a "lust to decide, not a desire to unite". She took on the government's new Citizens' Register in Assam, saying - in an apparent dig at Prime Ministe Narendra Modi and Smriti Irani - that in a country where "ministers cannot produce degrees to show they graduated from college, you expect poor, dispossessed people to show papers to prove that they belong to this country?"

Every time the NDA lawmakers shouted their protest, she blazed, "Sir, there is no room for professional hecklers in the corridors of this great hall, I urge you to put the House in order".

She also mentioned the growing number of hate crimes in the country "starting with Pehlu Khan and coming to the lynching in Jharkhand" last week.

"There is a ten-fold increase in the number of hate crime from 2014 to 2019. It is like a valuation of an e-commerce start up. There are forces in this country who are sitting there, just pushing these numbers up," Mahua Moitra said.

Quoting the words of Maulana Azad that spoke of the country's great diversity, she said these days, slogans and symbols are being used to test allegiance. "But there is no one slogan that can show any Indian that they are patriot".

Contending there is an "unimaginable subjugation" of media, she said five of the largest news media organisations are being "indirectly controlled or indirectly indebted to one man in this country" and alleged the information and broadcasting ministry employed 120 people to keep tabs on the national media for anti-government comments.

She cited propagation of fake news and accused the government of "obsession" with national security.

"You repeat and repeat a lie until it becomes the truth," she said about the ruling party's campaign, comparing it to "Goebbels Doctrine" - a reference to Hitler's right-hand man, Nazi politician Joseph Goebbels.

In her final point, she spoke of "erosion of independence in the electoral system" and referred to the Election Commission's transfer of officers in Bengal that had hugely upset Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.