More than 13 years after she formed the Trinamool Congress with the single-point agenda of dislodging one of
the world’s most entrenched political apparatus, Mamata Banerjee made history on Friday.
She swept the Left Front out of power — lock, stock and chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee — riding on the wave of an upsurge against the world’s longest serving — 34 years — elected communist regime.
“It’s an unprecedented historic verdict. This is a victory for ‘Maa, Mati, Manush’. This is a verdict against years of exploitation, agony and oppression,” said Banerjee, emerging from her modest home in south Kolkata amid a sea of frenzied supporters. “People of Bengal got independence for the second time.”
The Trinamool-led alliance won 227 of the total 294 seats, while the Left Front managed to scrounge just 61. The TMC share in the winning alliance’s tally was 185 seats, enough to form the next government on its own.
Even the Congress, which contested just 65 seats, managed to get more seats than the CPI(M).
This is almost a swap from the 2006 poll results — when, riding on ‘Brand Buddha’, the Front won 235 seats.
Such was the intensity of the Mamata tornado this time that the poster boys of the Left fell like ninepins and except for a few members from the outgoing ministry, most cabinet ministers faced humiliating defeats.
On top of the list of losers were Bhattacharjee, finance minister Asim Dasgupta, industry minister Nirupam Sen, urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya and housing minister Gautam Deb.
Worse, all of them lost by big margins to people who made their debut in politics this season. Party position
Just past noon, when it became clear that the Left Front was bowing out, Bhattacharjee met governor MK Narayanan and submitted his resignation.
“It is an unexpected mandate. The Left Front humbly accepts the people’s verdict and promises to be a responsible opposition,” said a statement from the Left Front.
In the evening, Mamata staked her claim to form the next government. HT exclusive: MF Husain on Mamata
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