Born on 5 January 1955 in Kolkata, Mamata Banerjee is the current Chief Minister of West Bengal and the first woman to hold the office. Popularly known as "Didi", Banerjee is the chairperson of All India Trinamool Congress Party which she founded in 1997 after splitting from the Indian National Congress.
Mamata Banerjee grew up in a lower middle class family, and her father Promileswar Banerjee died when she was young. Her mother Gayetri Devi was a school teacher. Mamata Banerjee remained single throughout her life. She graduated with an honours degree in History from the Jogamaya Devi College and earned a master's degree in Islamic History from the University of Calcutta; also a degree in education from Shri Shikshayatan College and a law degree from the Jogesh Chandra Chaudhuri Law College, Kolkata. She has maintained a lucid lifestyle throughout her political life, dressed in simple traditional Bengali cotton sarees called 'tant', a cotton bag slung on her shoulder and no cosmetics or jewelry.
Career in Politics
As a young college woman in the 1970s, Mamata Banerjee joined the Congress Party in West Bengal and served in different positions within the party and in other local political organizations. She swiftly climbed the ranks to become the General Secretary of the state Mahila Congress from 1976 to 1980. In the 1984 general elections, Banerjee became one of India's youngest parliamentarians ever in West Bengal and also became the General Secretary of the All India Youth Congress.
In 1989 Ms.Banerjee lost her seat in an anti-Congress wave but was back in the 1991 general elections and was made the Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development, Youth Affairs and Sports, and Women and Child Development. She retained her seat in the 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2009 general elections. She parted ways from the Congress Party and established the All India Trinamool Congress in West Bengal in 1997. The Trinamool Congress immediately became the primary opposition party in the state. In the year 1999, she joined the BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government and was designated as the Railways Ministry.
In 2000, she presented her first Railway Budget fulfilling many of her promises to her home state West Bengal, introducing a new bi-weekly train and four express trains connecting various parts of West Bengal. She also focused on developing tourism and added two additional locomotives on the Darjeeling-Himalayan section, associated with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited. In total, she introduced 19 new trains during that year.
After the Tehelka expose in 2001, she left the NDA cabinet and joined the Congress Party for West Bengal's 2001 elections. In January 2004, she returned to the NDA cabinet and held the post of Minister of Coal and Mines till the general election of 20 May 2004. In October 2005, she protested against the forceful land possession and the violence on local farmers in the name of industrial development policy of the Buddhadev Bhattacharya government in West Bengal. She suffered further setbacks in 2005, when her party lost power of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and in 2006, the Trinamool Congress was beaten in the West Bengal's Assembly Elections losing quite a lot of its members.
One of her initial decisions as chief minister was to return 400 acres of land to the farmers that were caught up in the land acquisition dispute. She is also credited to solve the long due "Gorkhaland Issue". She also started various reforms in education and health sectors and proposes to improve the law and enforcement condition in West Bengal and shows keen interest in making the public aware of the state's history and culture. On 16th February 2012, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation sent a letter praising Mamata Banerjee and her government for achieving a full year without any reported cases of Polio. Recently, she launched a Facebook page to gather public's support for A.P.J Abdul Kalam, her party's choice for the upcoming presidential polls.
She has been elected as the chief minister of West Bengal for the second term in the state's Legislative Assembly election, 2016. Her party won 211 seats out of total 293.
Blogs about Mamata Banerjee
Three New Bengal Districts Soon : Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee fulfilled her electoral promise last week with her announcement of the formation of three new districts in West Bengal – Jhargram, Asansol and Kalimpong, as part of her party’s commitment to re-organize the state’s districts for better administration. On her campaign trail in the run up to the 2016 Assembly elections, Mamata Banerjee had announced her party’s commitment to create five new districts if her party was re-elected to power. The reorganization of state…
General Elections 2014 – Day 56 : With every passing day political discourse in General Elections 2014 is fast reaching nadir with alarming speed. The assertion may seem a bit sweeping in the beginning but it’s hard to think otherwise when stories like petty politics over martyr’s memory and that of gang raping a woman to teach her lesson for joining a certain political party emerges. The ugly face of world’s largest democracy has been completely exposed and it will need…
Modi attacks Mamata, gets branded as butcher of Gujarat : 7 years after Sonia Gandhi’s ill-timed “Maut Ka Saudagar” jibe helped Narendra Modi to win emphatically in Gujarat, the Prime Ministerial candidate has been branded as “Butcher of Gujarat” in Bengal. Normally suave Derek-O'Brien tweeted this tirade to counter Modi’s direct bid for supremacy in didi’s land. From sending flowers after Modi won in Gujarat, to launching a vicious personal attack via spokesperson, Mamata – Modi relation has truly undergone a full circle. Modi…
NSS data vindicates Brand Buddha : Brand Buddha, the pragmatic economic model started by ex-West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has finally got some vindication. According to National Sample survey (NSS) data, in the timespan of 2004-2011, Bengal created highest number of factory jobs even surpassing Narendra Modi’s Gujarat. This will be certainly a shot in the arm for Bengal CPIM, not only to fight TMC electorally, but also in their power struggle with central leadership. Gujarat distant second According to…
In Bengal, parties fine tuning strategy gauging public reaction : The second phase of polling in Bengal passed without any major hiccup. In total nearly 82% of voters exercised their democratic rights. The only major news came from Jangipur where TMC candidate Haji Nurul entered polling booth with huge number of supporters. A FIR has been filed against him by Election Commission. The path ahead With 11 seats out of the way, political parties are now concentrating on the remaining 31 seats mostly clustered in…