Mamata scores a historic hat-trick

This round of assembly elections had many firsts, not the least among them being Mamata Banerjee emerging as the first female chief minister to win a third successive term in office.

While she did that in part by completely decimating the Left and Congress – a blank slate for them in Bengal being another first – ironically the Left chalked up its own first by winning a second successive term in Kerala and that too with an even bigger win than five years ago, 99 seats compared to 91.

BJP matched its highest-ever tally in Tamil Nadu of four seats and skyrocketed from just three seats to 79 in West Bengal, but sunk back to no seats in Kerala, a state where it had hoped to emerge as a significant third force.

In a year in which Covid has hogged the headlines, it is telling that health minister K K Shailaja or Shailaja Teacher as she is popularly known, had the highest margin in Kerala of nearly 61,000 votes with CM Pinarayi Vijayan (incidentally the oldest of the CMs in this round) a distant second on this count.

In a contest that was so one-sided in Bengal, it is a measure of BJP’s social engineering efforts that in the 84 reserved seats, the party almost equalled TMC’s tally winning 41 and losing 43 to TMC.

The Bengal result also meant that the state has lived up to its reputation of giving a party or front a long rope. Congress ruled for the first two decades after Independence, the Left for over three decades and now Mamata Banerjee is guaranteed at least 15 years in office.

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