It was the enigmatic personality of one, and the solicitous attitude of another that led to their respective record breaking win in the states of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. Amidst the scandals and the impeding Supreme Court hearing, both have managed to thwart the opposition and emerge as winners magnificently.
However, being the controversial leaders they both are, what makes them the favoured leaders in the states? Why do people still abide by the words of Amma and Didi?
The West Bengal chief, Mamata Banerjee smashed all her opponents to cement her hold further in the state. Seemed unfazed by the multi-crore Saradha scam and the Narada sting operation convicting the party members of TMC to be corrupt, she captured over 210 seats in a House of 294 breaking the record of Siddhartha Shankar Ray of Congress that was set four decades ago. It isn’t just a victory, it’s Mamata Banerjee thrashing her opponents, namely the alliance of Left and Congress and BJP.
Her countless schemes, for instance, Kanyashree Scheme, Sabuj Sathi Scheme, Yuvashree Scheme and Khadya Sathi Scheme, for the benefit of girls, youth and poor farmers assured her victory. Also, the affinity with which people have developed with her being in power, played a massive role. However, is it just the comfort of the leader that made her win possible?
The trust people have entrusted her with is massive. However, West Bengal being the ideological state that it is, could her win be to rebuke the widespread saffronisation by BJP and the shifting ideologies of Left with Congress at its aide?
The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa Jayaram, has created history in the state by becoming the only party which has come to power for a second consecutive time. A former renowned actress, her zealous persona and her role as a dispenser of materials, might have played important reasons for her win. She was mentored by MG Ramachandran who was a renowned leader of AIADMK. Thus, learning from the best, she did develop a reputation of a shrewd administrator, of being suave and efficient, articulate and well-read by her voters. Apparently, people are in love with her efficiency.
Despite being involved in a legal battle that is impending judgement from the Supreme Court, due to the case of 19 years old disproportionate assets, she succeeded in gaining popularity among the masses. It seemed like a pebble on an otherwise smooth highway stalled with various freebies, of course.
Like Ms. Banerjee, Jayalalithaa forte lied in her famous ‘Amma’ schemes, inclusive of Amma canteens, Amma cement, Amma mini-buses, Amma mineral water, and even a plan to build Amma cinema theatres, where ticket prices will be capped at Rs 25. She also launched a scheme for remote villagers to access key government officials, titled “Assured Maximum Service to Marginal People in All Villages”, which unsubtly gets shortened to AMMA.
Was it the allure of freebies or her governance record that led her way to victory?
Both these wins, though are similar but are not the same. Lack of a credible opposition, and the comfort level aligned with these ministers combined with schemes for the lower and middle class made them emerge as winners for the upcoming term.
Can they be proclaimed as ‘destiny’s children’ or are they leaders who are basking in the glory of popular majority support?
Even after goofing up many times, they have maintained their winning streak. Let us hope their new term brings major societal progressive developments, rather than continuing the legacy of controversies. Because such legacy followed would mean their own individual legacies dying.