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Mamata,Bengal’s first woman CM ; Chandy to be Kerala CM
Published on 16 May. 2011 1:07 AM IST
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Moving a step closer to becoming West Bengal’s first woman chief minister, Mamata Banerjee was Sunday unanimously elected leader of the Trinamool Congress legislature party amid loud cheers by slogan-shouting supporters.
The first meeting of the Trinamool legislature party at south Kolkata’s Maharashtra Nivas was attended by all the 184 party lawmakers.
The newly-elected lawmakers also chose Partha Chatterjee, leader of the opposition in the outgoing assembly, as the deputy leader of the legislature party and Sovandeb Chattopadhyay the chief whip.
Banerjee dedicated the historic victory over the 34-year-old Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led rule to the “Maa Mati Manush” (mother, land and people) of Bengal. The Trinamool-Congress alliance bagged 227 of the 294 seats in the state assembly, with the Trinamool alone getting 184.
A large number of people and supporters thronged Maharashtra Nivas to witness the historic event. “Mamata Banerjee Zindabad” and “Maa, Mati, Manush Zindabad” rent the air, while the Trinamool workers also took a dig at the beleaguered Left Front with slogans of “Didi tumi korle ki/CPI-M khabe ki” (Didi what have you done/ How will CPI-M survive now).
Several party workers broke down as they heard the news of Banerjee being elected Trinamool legislative party leader.
“I still can’t believe that our dream has come true. We are very happy,” said 55-year old Sujit Patra who switched from the Congress to the Trinamool in 1998.
Trinamool was formed after Banerjee broke ranks with Congress dubbing it the B-team of the Marxists.
The jubilant supporters then joined in the chorus as Banerjee sang the national anthem with all the elected legislators and supporters.
Overjoyed Trinamool workers hugged several party lawmakers.
As Banerjee was about to leave the venue, the supporters jumped over her car to touch her and wish her luck, but the security officials blocked them.
Banerjee, who had earlier declared that she would be sworn-in would be at the sprawling Brigade Parade Ground if the Trinamool won the election, Sunday said it was not possible “due to political and technical reasons”.
She announced that the Trinamool will hold a victory rally July 21 at ground.
“As the elections are only just over, if you leave your area now to attend the oath-taking ceremony at the Brigade Parade Ground, the CPI-M might try dirty tricks,” said Banerjee.
“So we have decided that we will hold the victory rally July 21 at the Brigade Parade Ground. But I appeal to all my party supporters to organise the oath-taking day ceremonies in their areas on the same day and time when our government is sworn in,” she added.
Banerjee declared her cabinet will be a small one, but added that she might expand her ministry later.
“I have earlier said that I prefer a small ministry. But there can be a expansion once I go through the administrative rules and government files and regulations. I will try to include people from all sections of the society in my cabinet,” she said.
Banerjee also expressed her gratitude to the people of Junglemahal area (the Maoist-hit forested stretches of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts) and saluted them for voting for the Trinamool.

Veteran Congress leader Oommen Chandy will be sworn-in as Kerala’s 21st chief minister Wednesday, a party official said here Sunday.
The swearing-in of the rest of the cabinet will be decided later after the meeting of the United Democratic Front (UDF) partners, he added.
Chandy was earlier unanimously elected leader of the Congress legislature party by its 38 members. His name has been cleared by party chief Sonia Gandhi for the chief minister’s post.
The senior leader later met Governor R.S. Gavai to stake claim for forming the government.
Earlier Sunday, state Congress president Ramesh Chennithala said he had no plans to contest for the chief minister’s post and that he supported Chandy to be the legislative party leader. Chandy assured the people that their trust in the United Democratic Front (UDF) will always be respected.
The UDF won the elections with 72 seats in the 140-member Kerala assembly, only four seats ahead of the Left Democratic Front’s 68.
“The slender majority has not dented our confidence. It must be recalled that the C. Achutha Menon ministry (1970-77), which was supported by the Congress, had a majority of only three seats. Despite that the government initiated several path-breaking initiatives,” said Chandy.

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