Left blown away by Mamata thunder in West Bengal
Kolkata: Finally it has happened. The world’s longest reigning democratically elected Communist government is on its way out. A demure battle hardened woman, Mamata Banerjee, has achieved her life’s biggest goal – unseating the Left Front from Writers’ Building in Kolkata.
With a slogan as connected to the roots as "Maa Mati Manush (Mother, Soil, People)", Banerjee is on course to become the first non-Left chief minister of West Bengal since the Marxists took power in 1977 and kept winning election after election.
She has also invited her ally Congress to join the next government in West Bengal.
Earlier in the evening, the TMC leader met West Bengal Governor MK Narayanan to stake her claim to form the next government in the state.
Banerjee, along with senior party leaders Mukul Roy and Partha Chatterjee, reached Raj Bhawan at 6.30 pm. Mamata was greeted by a sea of supporters as she entered the Raj Bhawan who were waiting outside to catch a glimpse of their charismatic leader.
West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee tendered his resignation to Goveror MK Narayanan at 1.15 pm on Friday. He lost his seat and is only the second chief minister in West Bengal's history to lose the Assembly seat. Prafulla Sen, the third chief minister of Bengal, was the first to lose.
As the state was poised to get its first woman chief minister in Mamata Banerjee after about 64 years after independence, the defeat of the Left Front spanned almost the entire geographical map of West Bengal.
In results available for 294 seats in the 294-member Assembly, the Trinamool-led alliance emerged victorious in 227 seats.
The Left Front managed to secure only 62 seats, while others won in 5.
Left’s candidates were losing even in erstwhile red citadels like Burdwan, Bankura and Purulia districts and in seats where the coalition had never been defeated since coming to power in 1977.
South Kolkata's Harish Chatterjee Street, which houses the Trinamool Congress chief's residence, is swarming with people wanting to wish their ‘Didi’ for uprooting the Left from their strongest bastion.
A visit to her neighbourhood helps explain her populist appeal. The firebrand Mamata lives with her mother in a modest house near Kalighat temple close to a stream of sewage and crematorium.
Connected to the roots she has managed the unimaginable and Kalighat is rejoicing its most famous progeny.
Every nook and corner of the locality has been decorated with giant cardboard cutouts of the party chief and the party's election symbol and crackers are being burst by ecstatic Trinamool supporters. The whole area is swarming with only one colour, green, as it is the colour that has come to represent Trinamool in contrast to the red of the Left Front led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).
It’s not just Kalighat, the two-third majority implies that Bengal as a whole has decided it is time for change. Even after seven consecutive election wins, the Communists stumbled, mainly due to a badly-implemented plan to seize farming land for industry to help the state's moribund economy and provide manufacturing jobs.
Voters saw them as stuck in a time warp and their exasperation over red tape and Marxist sloganeering has grown to a point of no return.
In Tamil Nadu too the incumbent DMK has been routed by the AIADMK. Kalaingar’s DMK coalition is ahead in only 31 seats, while Jayalalithaa and allies are doing well in 201 of the total 234 seats. Others are leading/have won just two seats.
Puducherry’s former chief minister N Ramaswamy, who had broken ranks with the Congress, has made an impact with his NR Congress winning 15 seats and its ally AIADMK five, while Congress ended with a tally of seven and DMK two. One seat was clinched by an independent.