May13th, Bengal Was Poised To Get Its First Woman Chief Minister

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Priyanka Dutta, Kolkata: It was May 13th that the state was poised to get its first woman chief minister in Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee after independence, the defeat of the Left Front spanned almost the entire geographical map of West Bengal.

The Trinamool Congress on May 13th headed for a historic win in West Bengal, bringing down the curtain on the 34-year uninterrupted rule of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) led Left Front.

The 63-year-old leader, fondly called ‘didi’ by her supporters, proved that she was not just a tough street fighter but a master strategist.

 

Born in a middle class family and daughter of a freedom fighter, Banerjee was a student of law and education. In her initial years in public life, she was mentored by veteran Congress leader Subrata Mukherjee – now ironically a senior minister in her state cabinet.

 

Her fashion statement is a simple cotton sari, a pair of rubber sandals and often a cotton bag (the famous Bengali jhola) slung from her shoulder. A born fighter, she also paints, writes, recites and sings Tagore songs.

The Trinamool headed for a landslide bagging 42 of the 294 seats and leading in 144 demolishing the 34-year-old Left citadel in West Bengal in the assembly elections.

Trinamool’s ally Congress won 12 seats and was leading in 30. As per the trends, the Trinamool Congress could form the ministry on its own as the magic figure for government formation is 148.

May 13 is one of the most important dates in the electoral history of Trinamool Congress. For on this date in 2011, Mamata Banerjee led the party in breaking down the 34-year-old Left citadel and coming to power; again in 2016, on this date, the party returned to power for a second consecutive term, again with a thumping majority.

A seven-time MP, Banerjee who took over as the chief minister in 2011 winning by-poll from Bhabanipur, steered Trinamool Congress through victory in subsequent elections to panchayat, civic bodies and 2014 Lok Sabha.

She launched various development initiatives in the state but also faced criticism over Saradha chit fund and Narada scams. However, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has proved more than equal to the task. From fair price medicine shops to the Kanyashree Scheme, ‘Sabuj Sathi’ under which cycles were distributed among the students, besides Rs 2 per kg rice for the 8 crore people in the state.

Despite a lion’s share of the State’s revenues being taken away by the Centre to service the debt incurred by the Left Front Government, Mamata Banerjee has carried out development in every sector in the State. Unthinkable, yet true.

Her Singur movement succeed around that time with the Tatas deciding to pull out of Singur in 2008 and located in Gujarat. By then Mamata was a national icon for farmers’ movement. The energy, charisma and political astuteness made Banerjee one of the few mass leaders in the country. The landslide victory in 2011, Mamata Banerjee thus scripted a story of an extraordinary politician. And It Is MAY 13th.

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