The TMC’s victory comes amidst allegations of corruption. The recent Narada sting in which many of its key leaders were shown taking cash, which the party alleged was the opposition’s dirty campaign to malign the TMC’s fair reputation.
However, against all anticipation the Ma Mati Manush (mother, land and people) slogan coined by Didi brushed away all chances of the Left capitalising on them. The 61-year-old leader remained unfazed by the attacks launched against her by the Left-Congress alliance on one front and the BJP on the other.
During her tenure, she had earned plaudits for launching various development schemes such as Kanyashri and Sabujh Sathi, under which cycles were distributed besides 2kg rice among eight crore population.
After parting ways with the Congress, Mamata, the arch rival of the Left-led government, captured power for the first time in West Bengal in 2011. Since then, Didi has emerged victorious in all the subsequent elections, including the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
She first shot into prominence after defeating CPM leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Banarjee in 1984 from Jadavpur constituency. After being defeated in 1989, she made her way back to the Lower House in 1991 from Kolkata south. She retained the seat until she became the Chief Minister of the state.
Banerjee also served as Union minister in the Narasimha Rao and Atal Behari Vajpayee governments. She resigned from the NDA government on grounds of morality after the Tehelka sting operation exposed Bangaru Laxman.
However, the journey since then for both the leader and her party was full of thorns. In 2004, Mamata was the only one to win a Lok Sabha seat from her party. Later in 2006 Assembly elections, the party was reduced to a mere 30 members in the 294-member Assembly.
Known to fight back, Didi led a protest against land acquisition at Singur and Nadigram, and capitulated on the frustration of farmers, disillusionment of Muslims and other sections of the society to seize power in 2011 elections.
Earlier, Mamata delivered a victory speech in Kolkata and appealed to the party members to maintain peace. Talking to media she said, “I am against BJP ideology, they like to divide and rule, our tradition is saare jahaan se accha…”
“The Left-Congress thought the alliance would save them. They engaged in conspiracies, but there are some ethics in politics, this time, all the ethics disappeared. I never name people personally, but they vilified me personally,” she added.
The latest trends show Trinamool Congress leading on a total 214 seats, which is more than its tally of 184 in the 2011 elections. CPM, on the other hand, has won 22 seats, reflecting a slide of almost 20 seats from the 2011 polls.
Accepting the defeat, CPI general secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted, “We accept the verdict of the people of West Bengal with all humility. Compliments to all comrades, supporters and those who have stood by us… We will introspect on the results. It is a challenge which we shall meet with all our strength. Lal salaam (sic).”
Meanwhile, jubilant party workers celebrated throughout the streets of Kolkata. Apart from fireworks, they also applied gulal to each other. Kolkata has been painted in green colour with party’s flag waving all around.