Mamata Banerjee: From defeating Left to overcoming BJP’s political onslaught

Kolkata: Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee, who on Wednesday took oath as the Chief Minister of West Bengal for the third consecutive term has emerged as one of the most prominent political figures in the country, overcoming the massive political onslaught by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

As she begins her third term in the state, we take a look at her political career:

Born on January 5, 1955, Mamata started her political career as a Youth Congress worker in the 1970s. She quickly rose to the ranks and became the general secretary of Mahila Congress and later All India Youth Congress.

In 1984, she was elected as a member of parliament in the 8th Lok Sabha becoming one of the country’s youngest parliamentarians. She founded the All India Trinamool Congress in 1997 after a disagreement with Congress.

She worked with three Prime Ministers including PV Narasimha Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Dr Manmohan Singh. She had been a Union Minister in both National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) governments and held portfolios like Human Resource Development, Youth Affairs and Sports, Women and Child Development, Coal and Mines and the Railways.

Mamata became the Chief Minister of West Bengal for the first time in 2011 by ending the 34-year-long CPI(M) regime, one of the longest-serving elected governments in the world.

Notably, she was the first woman to become a railway minister in the country. The Time Magazine named her among the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012.

Hailing from a lower-middle-class family, Mamata worked as a milk booth vendor to battle poverty. Her father passed away due to the lack of treatment when she was just 17. However, she continued her education and earned a Bachelor’s degree in History, a Master’s degree in Islamic History and degrees in Education and Law from the University of Calcutta.

She also worked as a stenographer and a private tutor before joining full-time politics. She still lives in her ancestral terracotta-tiled roof house at Kolkata’s Harish Chatterjee Street despite being the chief minister. White cotton sarees having mono-coloured borders and slippers are all that define the fashion statement of Mamata.

She is also a self-taught painter, poet and writer. She has authored more than 100 books.

With Congress now struggling to make a comeback into national politics, many opposition leaders are now looking at Mamata to lead in the anti-BJP fight in the coming days.