Today, Friday 13 May, 2011, saw change sweeping across the political landscape of West Bengal, India's fourth most populous state. Mamata Banerjee, leader of the All India Trinamool Congress Party (TMC), proved all skeptics wrong and swept into power, ending the 34 year long Communist rule in the state. Her party won 186 of 274 seats in the ongoing assembly elections, and together with allies, now commands 227 seats, heralding a decisive, landslide victory.
What was more, the Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee himself lost his seat to the TMC candidate by over 16,000 votes and resigned soon after, accepting “the verdict of the people”. After a 13-year long wait, Mamata Banerjee is on her way to becoming the first woman Chief Minister of West Bengal.
Throughout the day, the city wore a holiday look. The roads were pretty empty as most people sat glued to their televisions, following the vote-counting updates and analysis on a minute by minute basis. The entire state was abuzz with anticipation – “Will she? Won't she?”.
By afternoon the mandate was clear. The Communist Party had been routed, not only in West Bengal but also in Kerala – another of their bastions.
Netizens too were abuzz with the historic news. Tweets poured in fast and furious – some congratulatory and others hoping that the change eventually will be translated into positive action and good governance. Some also expressed concerns in this regard.
@swatigs: Historic win for TMC in Bengal for a generation who have seen only one party rule – we hope the ‘poriborton’ (change) will turn to progress.
@IndiaIn: Mamata shatters red citadel, sets to be WB's first woman CM: Set to take over the reins of West Bengal as its first woman chief minister
@subroto_kar: Congratulations Mamata and TMC. People of West Bengal have voted you with hope, don't let them down.
@ghoshsaikat: Finally the Red building has fallen to the Green group. But the question is does TMC have the necessary administrators to run a State Govt.?
@StevenWatson5: Congrats to Mamata. However, can she and her members be able to govern a state like West Bengal for the full term. I doubt it.
@ajaykumaraajtak: The biggest question in WB: will Mamata match soaring expectations of people. Bengal is so deprived that disenchantment will set in fast.
On the ground, there was jubilation and celebration among the TMC party workers and their allies and supporters. The mood in the party offices of the Left told it's own story.