Despite her poor show in managing her Central Govt portfolio as Minister for Railways, Mamata Banrejee has achieved what she wanted: taking Kolkata away from Left rule.
Kolkata Municipal Corporation poll results started coming out from early Wednesday morning and by afternoon it was pretty evident that Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has won the 141-ward Kolkata Municipal Corporation polls. Her party now has 95 seats, giving her a clear majority. This is a huge improvement from 2005’s performance, where she managed 42 seats.
The Left continued to go downhill in West Bengal, and was able to manage just 33 seats. In 2005 it had 75 seats in KMC. Earlier, news reports suggested that CPI is in talks with Congress to form a coalition so that Mamata can be kept out. But Congress was able to manage a paltry 10 seats in total, which is 11 less than 2005 performance. BJP won 3 seats in 2005 as well as this year.
For Mamata, this is a clear indication of the growing support for her in West Bengal. West Bengal is due to go to Assembly Polls in 2011, and today’s results are seen by many as semi-finals to the state-level polls.
It’s clear that her poor showing as Railways Minister has had no impact on her political chances in West Bengal. Maoists are now attacking trains at will, and poor management led to a stampede at New Delhi railway station recently, but Indian Railways was left searching for justified answers in all the cases. Mamata has repeatedly maintained that she is more interested in Kolkata, then her profile at the Center, and has skipped a lot of Cabinet meetings in recent times, just to stay back in West Bengal. No doubt, this is bearing fruits for her in the state now. It will be interesting to see if CPI and Congress remains silent on her growing clout in the days to come…