Mamata Banerjee (Bengali: also known as Didi, born 5 January 1955) is an Indian politician serving as the 8th and current Chief Minister of West Bengal since 2011. She is the first woman to hold the office. She founded the party All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC or TMC) in 1998 after separating from the Indian National Congress, and became its chairperson. She is often referred to as Didi (meaning: elder sister in Hindi and Bengali).
Banerjee previously served twice as the Minister of Railways, the first woman to do so. She is also the first female Minister of Coal, and Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Youth Affairs, Sports, Women and Child Development in the cabinet of the Indian government. She rose to prominence after opposing the erstwhile land acquisition policies for industrialisation of the Communist government in West Bengal for Special Economic Zones at the cost of agriculturalists and farmers at Singur. In 2011 Banerjee pulled off a landslide victory for the TMC Congress alliance in West Bengal, defeating the 34-year-old Communist Party of India (Marxist)- led Left Front government, the world’s longest-serving democratically elected communist government in the process.
In 2012, Time magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Bloomberg Markets magazine listed her among the 50 most influential people in the world of finance in September 2012.
Early life and education
Banerjee was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata), West Bengal to a Bengali Brahmin family headed by parents Promileswar Banerjee and Gayetri Devi. She grew up in a lower middle class family. Banerjee’s father died due to lack of medical treatment, when she was 17.
In 1970, Banerjee completed the higher secondary board examination from Deshbandhu Sishu Sikshalay. She graduated with an honours degree in history from the Jogamaya Devi College, a women’s graduate college in southern Kolkata. Later she earned a master’s degree in Islamic history from the University of Calcutta. This was followed by a degree in education from the Shri Shikshayatan College. She also earned a law degree from the Jogesh Chandra Chaudhuri Law College, Kolkata. She was honoured with a Doctor of Letters from Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology.
Banerjee became involved with politics when she was only 15. While studying at the Jogamaya Devi College she established Chhatra Parishad Unions, the student’s wing of the Congress (I) Party, defeating the Democratic Students’ Union of the Socialist Unity Centre of India. She continued in Congress (I) Party in West Bengal serving a variety of positions within the party and in other local political organizations.
Banerjee is a self-taught painter and a poet. Mamta Banerjee’s 300 paintings were sold for 9 crore INR. One painting was also sold to Sudipto Sen (central figure in the Saradha scam) for 1.8 crore.