West Bengal Assembly election 2021, Mamata Banerjee profile: TMC supremo loses fiercely fought battle against Suvendu Adhikari

FP Research
·5-min read

Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee lost the fiercely contested Nandigram seat by a slim margin of 1,956 to Suvendu Adhikari her former protege and party turncoat who contested on a BJP ticket.

While Adhikari bagged 1,10,764 votes, Banerjee, his one-time mentor, netted 1,08,808 votes, according to the Election Commission.

While Adhikari thanked the people of Nandigram for voting in his favour, the TMC demanded a recount and alleged 'illegal incidents' during Sunday's counting. The Election Commission rejected the TMC's demand for a recount, according to several media reports.

The TMC supremo has said that she would move court against the 'mischief' in Nandigram.

Also in the fray was former student leader and CPM candidate Minakshi Mukherjee, who managed to poll just 6,267 votes.

Nandigram went to polls in the second of eight phases on 1 April.

Banerjee was born 5 January, 1955, in Kolkata to Late Promileswar Banerjee and Gayatri Banerjee. She holds Bachelor degrees in Arts (BA), Education (B.Ed), Law (LLB) and a Masters degree in Arts (MA).

Student politician to state's first female CM

Banerjee was inducted to the West Bengal Chhatra Parishad while as a student of Jogmaya Debi College and worked as a member of its working committee during 1977-83. She held the post of General Secretary, West Bengal Congress (Indira) between 1979-80 and was Secretary, West Bengal Provincial Trade Union Congress. During the period 1983-88, she was the Secretary of the Women's Wing of the Indian National Trade Union Congress and was the Secretary, South Calcutta District Congress (Indira) for the period 1980-85.

In 1984, she was elected as a Member of Parliament from the Jadavpur constituency and held the post of General Secretary of the Youth Congress (Indira) and became a member of the National Council in 1987 and a member of the Executive Committee of the Congress Parliamentary Party in 1988.

She was re-elected as a Member of Parliament in 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2009 from the South Kolkata Parliamentary Constituency, making her one of India's most experienced parliamentarians. She founded the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC or TMC) party in 1998 after separating from the Congress and became its first chairperson.

She has served as a member of several Parliamentary Committees and was appointed as a Minister of State for Youth and Sports, Women and Child Development, Government of India in 1991. She was appointed the Railway Minister of the Government of India in 1999 and Cabinet Minister for Coal and Mines in 2004. In 2009, she was re-appointed the Railway Minister, becoming the first woman to hold the portfolio twice. In 2011 Assembly elections, All India Trinamool Congress registered a historic win, put an end to a longest-serving democratically-elected Communist regime in world history.

On 20 May, 2011, Banerjee took over as the first woman Chief Minister of West Bengal. She has also been credited for setting up of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.

Protests and controversies in Banerjee's career

As the Union sports minister in 1991, she announced that she would resign and protested in a rally at the Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata, against the government's indifference towards her proposal to improve sports in the country. She was discharged of her portfolios in 1993.

Until 1991, Mamata Banerjee claimed to have obtained a PhD degree from "East Georgia University" in United States. It was later found that no such university existed and she stopped mentioning this degree subsequently.

In early 2001, after Tehelka's exposure of Operation West End, Banerjee walked out of the NDA cabinet and allied with the Congress Party for West Bengal's 2001 elections, to protest the corruption charges levelled by the website against senior ministers of the government.

In 2005, she protested against the forceful land acquisition perpetrated against local farmers in the name of the industrial development policy of the then Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government in West Bengal.

In December 2006, Banerjee waged a 25-day hunger strike to protest the attempt by the West Bengal government to forcibly acquire land from farmers to build an automobile factory in the state.

Her political activism following the 2007 Nandigram violence, where a battalion of armed police stormed the rural area in the district of Purba Medinipur with the aim of quashing protests, is widely credited for her party's laudable performance in the 2011 state polls. At least 14 villagers were shot dead and 70 more were wounded in the violence.

The Saradha scam, a financial embezzlement case which led to the imprisonment of former state minister Madan Mitra, was reported during her tenure. Another major scam during her tenure as Chief Minister was the Rose Valley scandal caused by the collapse of a Ponzi scheme run by Rose Valley Group where multiple MPs from Banerjee's party were accused of money laundering.

The Narada sting operation was carried out by Mathew Samuel in 2011 for the Indian newsmagazine Tehelka and published on Naradanews.com just before the 2016 West Bengal Assembly elections. Banerjee has also been criticised for starting controversial stipends to imams.

In October 2016, the West Bengal government banned the Durga Puja festival immersion after 4 pm, seen by critics as an example of the 'Muslim appeasement policy of Banerjee's government.

She has authored over twenty books, created over 5,000 oil paintings and written poems in Bengali and English.

The Nandigram Assembly constituency lies in the Purba Medinipur district, and is a part of the Tamluk Lok Sabha constituency.

Elections for the West Bengal Assembly will be held in eight phases, up from seven last time, beginning with polling for 30 seats on 27 March. The second phase of West Bengal's assembly elections has been scheduled for 1 April and will cover 30 constituencies, followed by the third phase on 6 April for 31 seats, the fourth on 10 April for 44 constituencies, the fifth on 17 April for 45 seats, sixth for 43 seats on 22 April, seventh phase on 26 April for 36 seats and last and eighth phase on 29 April for 35 seats.

The results of the election will be declared on 2 May.

Also See: Bengal Election Results 2021: State didn't accept defectors from TMC, says BJP's Dilip Ghosh

West Bengal election results 2021: TMC garners 47.94% vote share; AIMIM, ISF fail to amass minority support

West Bengal Election Results 2021 Winning Candidates Full List: Mamata loses Nandigram by 1956 votes; check constituency-wise performance

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