Mamata Banerjee’s dream of having a doctorate degree might finally come true. National University of Railway Transport in Ukraine has decided to confer a honourary doctorate degree on the West Bengal chief minister for her relentless political struggle and her achievements as railway minister of India.
Mamata’s fight against communists has also reportedly impressed Ukraine which was formerly part of the Soviet Union. A letter has reached the West Bengal government headquarters in Nabanna for the chief minister’s consent.
Said a senior officer, “Yes. We have received the letter. But that is yet to be verified. Chief minister is presently touring districts.”
This comes almost 25 years after a controversy broke regarding Mamata’s claim of having a doctorate degree from an American University (named East Georgia). The controversy still haunts the Trinamool Congress leader. When she fought Lok Sabha election for the first time in 1984 against CPI(M) stalwart Somnath Chatterjee, the walls of Jadavpur university had “Dr Mamata Banerjee” written all over them.
The CPI(M) didn't cash in on the controversy before the election as it never thought that Chatterjee would be defeated. But after the election, Jyoti Basu government ordered an inquiry. The American high commission then told the government of West Bengal that there was no such university.
A controversy erupted inside and outside the Lok Sabha with Left members stalling the house over Mamata’s claim. Basu lashed out at Mamata saying, “She lies about her education. She is a fake doctorate.”
The intellectual community of the state which distanced itself from Mamata, who was then a maverick Congress leader, attacked her over her claims. The consequence was so grave that Mamata lost the next election in 1989, the only election she lost till date. Mamata has never used the prefix 'Dr' before her name.