West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s  war cry 

 ‘Khela Hobe‘  from the recently-held Assembly elections made its debut in the Parliament when opposition lawmakers shouted the slogan in Lok Sabha while demanding a discussion on ‘Pegasus Project’ report. 

What does Khela mean?

It all started with ‘khela hobe’ (the game is on), Mamata Banerjee’s election war cry during this year’s West Bengal assembly elections. This was countered by BJP with ‘Khela shesh’ (the game is over). Banerjee’s game shone in the end as she trounced the rival BJP.  She then went on to announce a ‘Khela diwas’ (Games day). So, what does khela mean, the word that seems to have caught Banerjee’s fancy.      

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Khela means ‘a game’ in Bengali. Khela Hobe is a Bengali phrase that means the ‘game is on’. This phrase was popularised by Anubrata Mondal, Trinamool Congress President of Birbhum district. Khela Shesh was coined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 2021 West Bengal elections to counter Khela Hobe.

On Khela Diwas, Trinamool Congress plans to distribute footballs to children from weaker economic backgrounds. 

Rajya Sabha MP of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Swapan Dasgupta was quick to point that the day for Khela Diwas coincided with the Muslim League’s Direct Action Day in 1946, which initiated the ‘Great Calcutta Killings. 

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“Interesting @MamataOfficial has declared August 16 as “Khela hobe divas”. It is the day the Muslim League launched its Direct Action Day & began the Great Calcutta Killings in 1946. In today’s West Bengal, “Khela Hobe” has come to symbolise a wave of terror attacks on opponents,” read Dasgupta’s tweet. (Swapan Dasgupta @swapan55)

In her live address on the Martyrs’ day on July 21, Mamata Banerjee had also said Khela Hobe (the game is on) till BJP is wiped out of the country.  

To this, BJP President Dilip Ghosh reponded, “Motive behind ‘Khela Diwas’ is clear. Before Independence, Calcutta killings happened on August 16 &around 20,000 people were killed in Bengal in communal violence on Jinnah’s call. Mamata Banerjee is following that to turn Bengal into Bangladesh: WB BJP President Dilip Ghosh,” he said to ANI.