Trinamool checks in at Writers' Building

The  corridors  of  power at Writers’ Buildings is barely five km from Mamata  Banerjee’s  Kalighat  residence, but it took the gutsy lady a gruelling  4,881 days --- the Trinamool Congress was formed January 1, 1998 --- to cover that distance. On Friday the 13th, Mamata’s Trinamool Congress and the Congress alliance swept the Left Front out of power lock, stock and chief  minister  Buddhadeb  Bhattacharjee.

Such  was  the intensity of the Mamata  wave that the poster boys of the Left fell like ninepins and except for a handful of members from the outgoing ministry, most Cabinet ministers faced humiliating defeats. At the time of reporting, the Trinamool-Congress combine had won 225 seats and the Left, just 63 in the 295-member Assembly. The Trinamool alone won over 180 seats, securing a comfortable majority. Just   past   noon,   even  as  the  results  were  pouring  in,  Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee  met  the  Governor  and  submitted  the  resignation  of his government,  paving  the way for Mamata Banerjee to take over the reigns of the state.

On  top of the list of losers was the chief minister himself, who lost from the Jadavpur constituency. Finance minister Asim Dasgupta was defeated from Khardah and Gautam Deb was humbled from Dum Dum. Asok Bhattacharya, the undisupted  king  of North Bengal, fell from Siliguri. And all of them lost to non-political electoral debutants.

The  geographical  spread  of  the  Left  rout  extended  from the Hills of Darjeeling  to  the  plains  of  North  Bengal,  from  the dense forests of Jangalmahal  to  the  coastal  reaches  of  West  Midnapore, from the urban confines  of  the  state  to vast swathes of rural Bengal. Kolkata, Howrah, North  and  South  24-Parganas  returned  all  the  Trinamool  and Congress candidates  and  even  in the red bastion of Burdwan, Mamata Banerjee short work of her Left opponents.

“This  is  a victory for Maa, Mati, Manush. This is a verdict against years of  exploitation, agony and oppression. I am humbled by this victory,” said Mamata Banerjee around noon when she emerged from her home in south Kolkata amid  a  sea of frenzied supporters. “People of Bengal got independence for the second time,” she added.

“It  was  solely Mamata Banerjee's hard work that paid off in Bengal,” said union  finance  minister  Pranab  Mukherjee,  perhaps  summing  up the 2011 elections in remarkable brevity.

“It  is  an  unexpected mandate. The Left Front humbly accepts the people’s verdict  and  promises  to  be  a  responsible  opposition,”  said  a joint statement  from Left Front chairman Biman Bose and chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

In 2009 Lok Sabha polls there was a swing of about 9% votes away from the Left Front. This time, the swing away from the Left was an additional 1.5%. The only consolation for the Left was the 40% votes that went their way.


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