Will Mamata Banerjee lead the anti-BJP fight in 2024 after resounding Bhabanipur bypoll win?
With Congress now struggling to make a comeback into national politics, many opposition leaders are now looking at Mamata to lead in the anti-BJP fight in the coming days.
Kolkata: Bhabanipur gave its final verdict for Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee as she won a resounding victory in the Assembly bypoll by a record margin of 58,835 votes against her nearest rival Priyanka Tibrewal of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
This victory has made Banerjee a member of the state Legislative Assembly and she can now retain the Chief Minister’s post. According to the Election Commission, Mamata Banerjee secured 85,263 votes, while her rival Priyanka Tibrewal secured 26,428 votes.
Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) also won all three assembly seats which went for bypolls in West Bengal. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had lost to BJP`s Suvendu Adhikari in the Nandigram constituency in the assembly elections held earlier this year.
With Congress now struggling to make a comeback into national politics, many opposition leaders are now looking at Mamata to lead in the anti-BJP fight in the coming days. Mamata Banerjee's impressive victory has further consolidated her position as the main challenger for PM Narendra Modi in the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Her victory has made both the BJP and Congress jittery since the two parties now face the risk of more leaders switching sides to Trinamool Congress in the changed political scenario after TMC’s bypoll win in all 3 assembly seats. Questions are also being raised as to why no big leaders were fielded by BJP or Congress against Mamata and why was she given a cakewalk when her CM’s chair was at stake.
According to sources, a few sitting BJP MPs are also said to be in touch with the TMC after Babul Supriyo joined TMC in middle of the by-polls. BJP now faces a big risk of losing the gains it made in West Bengal in 2019 and 2021.
After her victory, Mamata said that she was " hugely indebted to the people of Bhabanipur" as the TMC supremo won the keenly contested by-election in South Kolkata constituency by a record margin of 58,832 votes. "I thank you all...sisters, brothers, mothers, everyone from India. In 2016, I saw that I got fewer votes in a few wards. 46 per cent of voters are non-Bengali..everyone has voted for me," Mamata Banerjee said. "3,500 central personnel were sent for this election. Bengal was watching it. A lot of conspiracy happened during the election but I thank people," Mamata further said.
“People of Bhabanipur gave a befitting reply to the conspiracy that was hatched in Nandigram. I want to once again thank the people of Bhabanipur and West Bengal for today’s election result,” Mamata Banerjee said.
The Bhabanipur assembly seat was vacated by the West Bengal Agriculture Minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay in May, paving the way for Mamata Banerjee to contest the bypoll.
Born on January 5, 1955, Mamata started her political career as a Youth Congress worker in the 1970s. She quickly rose to the ranks and became the general secretary of Mahila Congress and later All India Youth Congress.
In 1984, she was elected as a member of parliament in the 8th Lok Sabha becoming one of the country`s youngest parliamentarians. She founded the All-India Trinamool Congress in 1997 after a disagreement with Congress.
She worked with three Prime Ministers including PV Narasimha Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Dr Manmohan Singh. She had been a Union Minister in both National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) governments and held portfolios like Human Resource Development, Youth Affairs and Sports, Women and Child Development, Coal and Mines and the Railways.
Mamata became the Chief Minister of West Bengal for the first time in 2011 by ending the 34-year-long CPI(M) regime, one of the longest-serving elected governments in the world.
Notably, she was the first woman to become a railway minister in the country. Time Magazine named her among the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012. Hailing from a lower-middle-class family, Mamata worked as a milk booth vendor to battle poverty. Her father passed away due to the lack of treatment when she was just 17.
However, she continued her education and earned a Bachelor`s degree in History, a Master`s degree in Islamic History and degrees in Education and Law from the University of Calcutta.
She also worked as a stenographer and a private tutor before joining full-time politics. She still lives in her ancestral terracotta-tiled roof house at Kolkata`s Harish Chatterjee Street despite being the chief minister. White cotton sarees having mono-coloured borders and slippers are all that define the fashion statement of Mamata.
She is also a self-taught painter, poet and writer. She has authored more than 100 books. With Congress now struggling to make a comeback into national politics, many opposition leaders are now looking at Mamata to lead in the anti-BJP fight in the coming days.