Mamata BanerjeeMamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee, or fondly called as 'Didi' by her followers celebrates her 62nd birthday today. On this occasion, we list interesting facts about the feisty woman and her rise to political stature

>>Mamata Banerjee was born in Kolkata in a lower middle class Bengali family to Promileswar Banerjee and Gayetri Devi. She suffered hardships during her early life. Mamata lost her father at an age of 17 due to lack of medical treatment.

>>She has completed history honours degree and has a Masters degree in Islamic History. She also has a degree in law.

>>In 1970, Mamata Banerjee joined politics when she was in her teens. She joined Congress party and quicky rose through ranks to became the general secretary of the State Mahila Congress.

>>In 1997, she established All India Trinamool Congress leaving Congress.

>>The fiery woman has controversially held a Samajwadi Party MP, Daroga Prasad Saroj, by the collar and dragged him out of the Lok Sabha to prevent him from protesting against the Women's Reservation Bill.

>>She joined NDA government in 1999 and was allocated the Railway Ministry. However, she left in 2000 to protest against petroleum price hike. She later, rejoined in 2004 only to leave again. In 2009 she joined UPA led by Congress. She was made Railway Minister again but in 2012 she left UPA to protest government's decision to allow FDI in retail markets.

>>She has protested against the West Bengal government and Tata Company in 2006 to oppose setting up of Nano car production factory in Singur and also the Nandigram violence where government tried to acquire land for a chemical hub forcefully.

>>In 2011, she pulled off a landslide victory for the TMC Congress alliance in West Bengal by defeating the 34-year-old Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front government, the world's longest-serving democratically-elected communist government.

>>She is the first female Chief Minister of West Bengal.

>>She wears only one kind of sari - a simple traditional Bengali cotton sari with cotton bag slung on her shoulder. She leads a very simple life and has never married.

>>She is a self-taught painter and a poet. Her paintings are mostly women-centric.

>> In 2016, she was sworn in as West Bengal chief minister for the second time. 

>>She is a great patron of history, art and culture. She had named several stations of the Kolkata Metro after freedom fighters, religious leaders, poets and singers. Rabindranath Tagore is her favourite, so much so that one of her moves as Chief Minister has been to arrange for the playing of Rabindra Sangeet at traffic signals in Kolkata.