Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee emerged as the top newsmaker of 2016 in West Bengal leading Trinamool Congress to a thumping victory in the assembly polls and later on positioning herself in the forefront of the anti-Modi crusade on the demonetisation issue.
The state government also scored a major victory in the Supreme Court which termed as “illegal and void” the acquisition of land in Singur by the previous Left Front regime for Tata Motors’ Nano car project by ordering restoration of the land to the farmers.
Banerjee described the apex court ruling as a “landmark victory” for her party.
The year also witnessed the collapse of the under- construction Vivekananda road flyover in which over 20 people lost their lives. The incident led to political mudslinging with TMC chief putting the blame on the previous LF government.
The state also saw a slugfest between TMC and the foe- turned-friend Congress and the CPI(M)-led Left Front during the assembly poll.
Raising Narada sting operation and Saradha scam issues, the Congress-Left combine tried to put up a tough fight but TMC had managed to capture 211 seats in the 294-member assembly.
The BJP played a spoilsport for the Congress and Left alliance, which ended up with a meagre 76 seats. The BJP opened its account by wining three seats.
Maintaining its winning spree, TMC also recorded victories in the by-election to two Lok Sabha and one assembly seat in the state.
Having the main Opposition parties decimated in Bengal, Banerjee chose to play a bigger role in national politics ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing the decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8, Banerjee was the first to go all out against the decision terming it “anti-people” and “financial emergency” in the country.
Political observers say the demonetisation issue gave Banerjee a much-awaited opportunity to try her luck in playing a major role in national politics with a view on the 2019 elections.