On 13 May 2011, Mamata Banerjee, leader of the All India Trinamool Congress, defeated the Left Front to become the state’s first female chief minister. It was her rallying cry of poriborton, and her slogan, Ma, Mati, Manush (Mother, Earth, People), which captured the imagination of the people and led to her landslide victory, ending the decades-long dominance of the Left Front.
But what triggered this change? And what were the conditions which enabled the Left Front to win election after election in West Bengal with huge margins up to 2006? Then again, when they seemed to be firmly entrenched, how were they routed at the hands of a leader who had cobbled together a party consisting mainly of defectors from the Indian National Congress?
Sitaram Sharma, journalist, diplomat and author, attempts to delve into these questions, lucidly unravelling cause-and-effect links through a careful exploration of the turbulent world of Bengal politics—from the partition of Bengal in 1947 to the Leftward swing in the 1960s-70s, the gradual downfall of the Communist party culminating in the Singur-Nandigram incident, and the final blow, in 2011, when Mamata Banerjee came to power—in this powerful and incisive exposition of the current affairs of West Bengal.