Mamata Banerjee and Mamta Kulkarni have been in the news for completing contrasting reasons of late. Back in the 90s, both were hugely popular, but while Banerjee has built on her fame, Kulkarni has been dogged by controversy. We take a closer look at their profiles.
Mamata Banerjee: She was, on Friday, sworn in as the Chief Minister of West Bengal for the second consecutive time. Banerjee has been the CM of West Bengal since 2011, and is the first female politician to hold the office.
Back in 1997, Banerjee founded Trinamool Congress (TMC), after separating from Indian National Congress (INC). In 2011, Banerjee created Indian political history as the TMC-Congress alliance in West Bengal pulled off a landslide victory defeating the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front government, which was in power for a record 34 years.
Banerjee has also served as the Minister of Railways twice. In fact, she is the first woman Railway Minister of India. In 2012, Time magazine named her one of the '100 Most influential People in the World'. Also, in an internal poll by 'India Against Corruption' she was named India's most honest politician.
Mamta Kulkarni: She starred in a number of commercially successful Bollywood films in the 90s – ‘Waqt Hamara Hai’ (1993), 'Krantiveer' (1994), 'Karan Arjun' (1995) and 'Sabse Bada Khiladi' (1995). She even won the New Face of the Year award for her performance in 'Aashiq Awara' (1993). Her later films however did not work, and by the turn of the millennium, she was a forgotten name.
Mamta has begun making headlines again, but for all the wrong reasons. In November 2014, she was reported detained in Kenya along with her husband Vijay 'Vicky' Goswami, a notorious drug lord wanted by 6 countries, on the grounds of alleged drug trafficking. Goswami’s name has also surfaced in the Rs 2000 crore Thane drug racket, which was busted recently. Cops found out that around 100 kg of ephedrine was smuggled to Goswami out of Gujarat in the last three months.
The latest in the Mamta saga is that the Thane police has summoned a top Mumbai builder, Shabbir Patel, for questioning in the drug racket case. Patel had sold three flats to Mamta, and is alleged to have had business transactions with her husband, Goswami. His name popped up during investigation into Kulkarni and Goswami's ties in India. Police said he has sold three flats in Versova through his realty firm, Oscar Builders Pvt Ltd, to Kulkarni.