In the 2011 West Bengal assembly elections, Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress won 184 seats out of 294. The party went on to better its performance in 2016, winning 211 seats. In 2021, the Bharatiya Janata Party was expected to be toe-to-toe with the TMC. But in the end, the TMC registered a landslide win, claiming 213 seats.
The only blip on TMC's third consecutive win was that Mamata Banerjee lost the only seat she contested, Nandigram. BJP's Suvendu Adhikari won the Nandigram assembly constituency by 1,956 votes.
Despite her loss in Nandigram, Mamata Banerjee can still be Chief Minister. But the road ahead will not be straightforward. Mamata would be required to contest and win an assembly seat within six months. This is as per the Article 163-164 of the Indian Constitution.
What are her options now that Mamata has lost?
Mamata Banerjee can still be the chief minister and she would be required to contest election and become a member of the assembly within the period of six months as per Article 163-164 of the constitution. Article 164 states that "A Minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the Legislature of the State shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a Minister."
As per the established procedure, the CM is elected through a majority in the state legislative assembly and then appointed by the Governor.
Which will be the seat Mamata will now fight from?
In 2011, the Trinamool Congress had toppled the Goliath Left. But Mamata had not contested those elections, and was in a similar situation. She had to become a member of the assembly within six months to retain the Chief Minister title.
Banerjee then picked Bhabanipur. The sitting MLA of Trinamool Congress Subrata Bakshi was made to resign and Banerjee contested and won by a margin of 54,213 votes.
In 2021, the Bhabanipur seat has been won by TMC candidate Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay. Will Mamata contest from Bhabanipur again? Will Chattopadhyay make way for Mamata, the de facto head of TMC? There is a lot of interest in what path to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee chooses.