The exit poll results turned out to be true as the verdict was out in favour of Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC), within a couple of hours after the counting started on Thursday (May 19) morning.
Despite Narada sting, Sarada scam and the Kolkata flyover collapse, Didi, as Mamata is fondly called, is all set to become the chief minister of West Bengal for a second term.
By about 11.30 am, TMC galloped towards victory, leading in at least 210 seats out of 294 seats in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.
The main opposition Left Front-Congress alliance trailed in around 65 seats.
Even as the counting of votes is underway, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Mamata Banerjee.
“Spoken to @MamataOfficial ji & congratulated her on the impressive victory. My best wishes to her as she begins her 2nd term,” he tweeted.
So while Kolkata turns green (TMC’s colour) by the end of the day, here are 10 interesting facts about our present-cum-would be CM:
1. Mamata Banerjee is the first woman chief minister of West Bengal.
2. Born on January 5, 1955, Mamata Banerjee joined politics at a mere age of 15 (in 1970). She left Congress to form the All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC) on January 1, 1998.
3. Fiery being her other name, on December 11, 1998, she allegedly grabbed Samajwadi Party MP Daroga Prasad Saroj by his collar and dragged him out of the Lok Sabha to stop him voice protest against the Women’s Reservation Bill.
4. In 2011, she ousted the 34-year-old Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front government with a landslide victory of 184 seats.
5. She entered the electoral battlefield in 1984 and the 29-year-old defeated veteran CPI-M leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee in the Lok Sabha polls from Jadavpur constituency in South Kolkata by 19,660 votes.
6. Didi has won eight out of nine elections that she has contested till date. The only time she lost was in 1989 to CPI-M candidate Malini Bhattacharya at Jadavpur constituency by 30,900 votes.
7. In 2004, she was the only TMC candidate to win the Lok Sabha polls by defeating CPI-M candidate Rabin Deb by 98,429 votes from Calcutta South seat.
Her vote-share was 51.1%. That made her the only MP representing her party in the Lower House of the Indian Parliament.
8. The year TMC stormed into power in 2011, Mamata Banerjee fought her first Assembly election and defeated CPI-M candidate Nalini Mukherjee by more than 54,000 votes. Her vote-share was 77.46%.
9. She lives a simple lifestyle, wearing only a special kind of cotton sari – ‘Dhaniakhali’ – that too white in colour, and flip flops.
10. She loves to eat ‘muri-telebhaja’ (puffed rice and Bengali pakodas) and long walks. She paints and writes poetry in her leisure, and is a spontaneous singer.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.