Mamata Banerjee Photo

Mamata Banerjee

All India Trinamool Congress

Basic Info

About,Mamta Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee ( born 5 January 1955) is an Indian politician who has been Chief Minister of West Bengal since 2011. She is the first woman to hold the office. Banerjee founded the party All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC or TMC) in 1997 and became its chairperson, after separating from the Indian National Congress. She is often referred to as Didi (meaning elder sister in Bengali). Banerjee previously served as the Minister of Railways twice and is also the first woman Railway Minister of India, Minister of Coal, and Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Department of Youth Affairs and Sports and Women and Child Development in the cabinet of the Indian government.

She rose to prominence after opposing the erstwhile land acquisition policies for industrialisation by the Communist government in West Bengal for Special Economic Zones at the cost of agriculturalists and farmers. In 2011 Banerjee pulled off a landslide victory for the TMC Congress alliance in West Bengal, defeating the 34-year-old Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front government, the world's longest-serving democratically elected communist government in the process.

Education & Background

Banerjee was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata), West Bengal in a Bengali Brahmin family to Promileswar Banerjee and Gayetri Devi.She grew up in a lower middle class family. Banerjee's father died due to lack of medical treatment, when she was 17. In 1970, Banerjee completed the higher secondary board examination from Deshbandhu Sishu Sikshalay. Banerjee graduated with an honours degree in History from the Jogamaya Devi College, a Graduate women's college in southern Kolkata.Later she earned a master's degree in Islamic History from the University of Calcutta.

This was followed by a degree in education from the Shri Shikshayatan College. She also earned a law degree from the Jogesh Chandra Chaudhuri Law College, Kolkata.She was honored with DLitt from Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology. Banerjee became involved with politics when she was only 15. While studying at the Jogamaya Devi College established "Chhatra Parishad Unions", the student's wing of the Congress (I) Party, defeating the Democratic Students’ Union of the Socialist Unity Centre of India.She continued in Congress (I) Party in West Bengal serving a variety of positions within the party and in other local political organizations. As a young woman in the 1970s, she quickly rose through the ranks to become the general secretary of the state Mahila Congress (1976–80).

Personal Life

Throughout her political life, Banerjee has maintained publicly an austere lifestyle, dressing in simple traditional Bengali clothes and avoiding on luxuries.She has remained single throughout her life.

Political Career

Mamta Banerjee With Congress

Banerjee started her political career in the Congress party, and as a young woman in the 1970s, she quickly rose in the ranks of the local Congress group, and remained the General Secretary of Mahila Congress (I), West Bengal, from 1976 to 1980.In the 1984 general election, Banerjee became one of India's youngest parliamentarians ever, beating veteran Communist politician Somnath Chatterjee, from the Jadavpur parliamentary Constituency in West Bengal. She also became the General-Secretary of the Indian Youth Congress.

Losing her seat in 1989 in an anti-Congress wave, she was back in 1991 general elections, having settled into the Calcutta South constituency. She retained the Kolkata South seat in the 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2009 general elections. In the Rao government formed in 1991, Mamata Banerjee was made the Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development, Youth Affairs and Sports, and Women and Child Development. As the sports minister, she announced that she would resign, and protested in a rally at the Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata, against Government's indifference towards her proposal to improve sports in the country.

Mamta Banerjee As Railway Minister

In 2002, Mamata Banerjee presented her first Railway Budget. In it she fulfilled many of her promises to her home state West Bengal. She introduced a new biweekly New Delhi-Sealdah Rajdhani Express train and four express trains connecting various parts of West Bengal, namely the Howrah-Purulia Rupasi Bangla Express, Sealdah-New Jalpaiguri Express, Shalimar-Adra Aranyak Express and the Sealdah-Amritsar Superfast Express (weekly). She also increased the frequency of the Pune-Howrah Azad Hind Express and extension of at least three express train services. Work on the Digha-Howrah Express service was also hastened during her brief tenure.

She also focused on developing tourism, enabling the Darjeeling-Himalayan section with two additional locomotives and proposing the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited. She also commented that India should play a pivotal role in the Trans-Asian Railway and that rail links between Bangladesh and Nepal would be reintroduced. In all, she introduced 19 new trains for the 2000–2001 fiscal year.

Mamta Banerjee As Railway Minister (2009)

In 2009, Mamata Banerjee became the railway minister for the second time. Her focus was again on West Bengal.She led Indian Railways to introduce a number of non-stop Duronto Express trains connecting large cities besides a number of other passenger trains, including women-only trains.The Anantnag-Qadigund railway line of the Kashmir railway that has been in the making since 1994 was inaugurated during her tenure. She also declared the 25-km long line-1 of Kolkata Metro as an independent Zone of the Indian Railways for which she was criticised. She stepped down as railway minister to become the Chief Minister of West Bengal.

She commented "The way I am leaving the railways behind, it will run well. Don’t worry, my successor will get all my support". Her nominee from her party, Dinesh Trivedi, succeeded her as railway minister. Mamata Banerjee's tenure as railway ministerwas subsequently questioned as most of the big-ticket announcements made by her when she was the railway minister, saw little or no progress,Reuters reported that "Her two-year record as railway minister has been heavily criticized for running the network into more debt to pay for populist measures such as more passenger trains." The Indian Railways became loss-making in her two-year tenure.

Mamta Banerjee As CM Of West Bengal (2011-16)

In 2011, the All India Trinamool Congress along with the Indian National Congress won the West Bengal legislative assembly election against the incumbent Left Alliance by securing 227 seats. TMC won 184 seats with the INC winning 42 seats and the SUCI secured one seat. This marked the end of the longest ruling democratically elected Communist party in the world. Banerjee was sworn in as Chief Minister of West Bengal on 20 May 2011. As the first female Chief Minister of West Bengal, one of her first decisions was to return 400 acres of land to Singur farmers. "The cabinet has decided to return 400 acres to unwilling farmers in Singur,the chief minister said. "I have instructed the department to prepare the papers for this. If Tata-babu(Ratan Tata) wants, he can set up his factory on the remaining 600 acres, otherwise we will see how to go about it," she added.

She has started various reforms in education and health sectors. Some of the reforms in the education sectors include release of the monthly pay of the teachers on the first of every month and quicker pensions for retiring teachers. In health sector "A three-phase developmental system will be taken up to improve the heath infrastructure and service,” Mamata Banerjee said." On 30 April 2015, the representative of UNICEF India congratulated the government for making Nadia the first Open Defecation Free district in the country. In June 2012, she launched a Facebook page to rally and gather public support for A.P.J Abdul Kalam, her party's choice for the presidential elections. After he refused to stand for the second time, she gave her support to Pranab Mukherjee for the post after a long tussle over the issue commenting she was personally a "great fan" of Mukherjee and wishing that he "grows from strength to strength".

Mamta Banerjee As CM Of West Bengal(2016)

West Bengal Legislative Assembly election, 2016 was held for 294 seats (out of 295 seats) of the Vidhan Sabha in the state of West Bengal in India.All India Trinamool Congress won the elections with a landslide two-third majority under Mamata Banerjee winning 211 seats out of total 293. who has been elected as Chief Minister West Bengal for the second term.All India Trinamool Congress won with an enhanced majority contesting alone and became the first ruling party to win without an ally since 1962 in West Bengal.

Political Controversy

In a statement on 17 October 2012, Banerjee attributed the increasing incidence of rape in the country to "more free interaction between men and women". She said,"Earlier if men and women would hold hands, they would get caught by parents and reprimanded but now everything is so open. It’s like an open market with open options." She was criticised in the national media for these statements. In January 2017, the West Bengal Council for Higher Education changed the word for "Rainbow" in Bengali text books from "Ramdhonu" (Ram's Bow) to "Rongdhonu" (bow of colours).

This has been seen by a section of the West Bengal population as an example of "Muslim appeasement" policy of Mamata Banerjee, given that "Ram" is the name of a figure in Hindu mythology, and that Bangladeshi textbooks had already changed "Ramdhonu" to "Rongdhonu" as Bangladesh is a Muslim majority country.

All India Trinamool Congress's Leaders