The current West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee grew up in a middle-class family in Kolkata (Calcutta) and got involved in politics as soon as she graduated from college. She became West Bengal’s first female Chief Minister in 2011. Banerjee is affectionately addressed as ‘Didi’ amongst her followers. It means the elder sister in Bengali. Also, she holds a general History honors degree, a master’s degree in Islamic History, and degrees in education and law field. Besides, Mamata Banerjee is a poet and a painter who has sold about 300 paintings for Rs 9 crore. At traffic lights in Kolkata, she introduced Rabindra Sangeet, a collection of songs by Rabindranath Tagore, which is a unique feat.
Mamata Banerjee was born into a Bengali Hindu Brahmin family in Calcutta (now Kolkata), West Bengal on 5th January 1955. Her parents were Promileswar Banerjee and Gayetri Devi. Banerjee’s father died when she was only 17. It was a complete lack of medical attention caused by absolute poverty. Her father was a freedom fighter in the pre-independent era. Before entering into politics, Banerjee has worked as a stenographer, a primary school teacher, and even a salesgirl.
She became a member of the Indian National Congress party as a young woman, winning her maiden Lok Sabha election in 1984 from the Jadavpur parliamentary constituency. She lost the same to CPI (Marxist) Party in 1989 but regained it in 1991. She held the seat until the general elections of 2009. In 1997, she created the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) and served twice as Railway Minister after forging an alliance with both the NDA and the UPA. Banerjee gained massive popularity during the Nandigram and Singur agitations.
Eventually, in 2011, she was appointed Chief Minister of West Bengal. In 2016, she was re-elected with an even larger mandate. When several prominent TMC officials quit the party in 2021, Mamata took the mantle and led the party to a thumping victory. However, in 2021 West Bengal Assembly Elections she lost from the Nandigram seat to former TMC Member Suvendu Adhikari, who had joined the BJP just before the election. Though Mamata Banerjee lost from Nandigram, the Trinamool Congress party won the 2021 WB elections.
- As a railway minister, she managed to launch several non-stop Duronto Express trains connecting major cities. Besides, she introduced a bulk of passenger trains, including women-only trains.
- One of her first acts as West Bengal’s first female chief minister was to release 400 acres of land to deprived farmers of Singur.
- The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration was also established under her leadership.
- She embarked on a series of educational and healthcare reforms. The disbursement of teachers’ monthly pay on the first of every month, as well as faster pensions for retiring teachers, were among the worthwhile educational changes brought by Mamata Banerjee.