Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee has led her incumbent party to a massive win. However, in a see-saw contest that came down to the last round, it is not decisively clear whether she has lost out to her former protege and BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari.
Earlier, news agency ANI had reported that Banerjee had won but in her press conference on Sunday evening, Mamata Banerjee conceded defeat. To make it even more confusing, TMC put out a tweet saying the counting is still in progress.
The immediate question that now arises is whether Mamata Banerjee will continue to be the Chief Minister. Technically, there is precedence that she can and she most definitely will.
Nitish Kumar, Yogi Adityanath and Uddhav Thackeray, the chief ministers of the three most populous states of India are all members of the legislative councils of their respective states and are not part of the legislative assembly. Simply put, they have not won Vidhan Sabha elections to become the chief minister. In fact, Nitish Kumar is the only one of them to have ever contested a Vidhan Sabha election almost 36 years ago.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has never contested a general election. But that might not be the case with Banerjee, as West Bengal doesn’t have a legislative council. However, her party has in the past spoken of reviving such a structure.
Article 164 says, “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.” This means that Mamata Banerjee has a 6-month to become a lawmaker.
The route she can take is filing nomination for any of the seats falling empty and contesting in a by-election, for example, Khardaha.
Meanwhile, talking about her defeat on Sunday, Banerjee said, “I accept the verdict for Nandigram. I will go to the constitutional bench. It is a landslide victory for TMC, and BJP has lost the election. They played dirty politics, the officers there have told me so..Lakshman rekha for the EC is needed."