Last modified: 2008-08-09 by ian macdonald
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image by Ivan Sache, 20 July 2008
The All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) was founded in 1998 by
Ms. Mamata Banerjee (b. 1955) as a split of the Indian National Congress (INC)
in West Bengal. When still member of the INC, Banerjee won the Jadavpur seat in
the Lower House of the Parliament (Lok Sabha) in 1984 and lost it in 1989; in
1991, she won the seat of Kolkata (Calcutta) South and retained it in the next
elections (1996, 1998, 2000 and 2004). Banerjee was Union Minister of State for
Human Resources Development, Youth Affairs and Sports, and Women and Child
Development in the Rao government, from 1991 to 1993. In West Bengal, the AITC
became the main opponent to the CPM (Communist Party of India - Marxist)
government. In 1999, the AITC joined the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led
by the Indian's People Party (BJP) and Banerjee was appointed Minister of the
Railways. She resigned in 2001 and allied with the INC; in 2004, she was
Minister of Coal and Mines for a short period and is today the only
representative of the AITC at the Lok Sabha. In 2005, the AITC lost the control
of the municipality of Kolkata; the next year, the party lost more than half of
its representatives in the West Bengal Assembly. Mamata Banerjee has a very
personal political style, involving provocative acts. A good illustration can be
found in the presentation of the party available on the AITC website:
The flag of AITC is prescribed in the party constitution as follows:
Article II (B) - Party flag
The flag of the All India Trinamool Congress shall consist of three horizontal colours : saffron, white and green with the picture of a symbol of “Flowers and Grass” in blue in the centre. It shall be made of certified Khadi.
The name of the party shall be the ALL INDIA TRINAMOOL CONGRESS. The party shall have its own flag, logo, symbol and a national headquarter at such place as the party shall deem fit and proper. [...]
The party flag and symbol are described in detail on the AITC website:
Saffron indicates “upholding and adhering to, with true faith and allegiance, the Constitution of India as by law established, as well as the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India” (as mentioned in Article II (a) and II (A) of the party Constitution). White symbolizes dedication to World Peace by India to be established as a global power. Green indicates prosperity not only, in macro-aspects but also in micro-aspects.
The picture of the party symbol – visualized and drawn by Party Supremo Mamata Banerjee herself – in blue colour is in the center of the party flag. The colour blue here signifies sky – like broadness embracing multilingual, multifaceted, multiethnic, rich culture and heritage of India (vide Article I of the party Constitution).
The party symbol depicts two flowers blossoming from one green stem. Such flower is locally called ghas-phool (flower from grass). In the party symbol, the stem has grown from green grass. The colour green for the stem and the grass here symbolizes peaceful means for awakening masses through movement and participation in lawful electoral process (vide Article II (c) of the party Constitution). Out of the two flowers, one stands for Tagore* and the other for Nazrul**. The grass stands for mass. Both the flowers have three petals of three colours – red, white and green. Three petals are representatives of Hindu, Muslim and “Other” communities and the three colours colouring them are the “Principles of Socialism, Secularism and Democracy: which is the essence of the party’s ideology stipulated in Article II (b) of its Constitution."
* Rabindranâth Tagore (1861-1941), Bengali composer, writer, playwright and philosopher, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. Two of his poems have been adopted as the national anthem by India and Bangladesh, respectively.
** Kazi Nazrul Islam (1899-1976), Bengali poet, musician, revolutionary and philosopher, was conferred the title of "national poet" by the government of Bangladesh.
Ivan Sache, 20 July 2008