Kolkata, December 30
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress’ thumping victory to return to the saddle for the second consecutive term in the Assembly election, Narada sting operation, flyover collapse and demonetisation hit the headlines in West Bengal this year.
Belying all speculations after the Narada sting operation and the flyover collapse, Ms Banerjee returned to power for the second successive term and emerged as the top newsmaker of the year.
The challenge in the election was, however, no less daunting as she had to blunt the anti-incumbency factor as well as the Left-Congress alliance that gave birth to a resurgent opposition movement. Raising the Narada sting operation and Saradha scam issues, the Congress-Left combine tried to put up a tough fight but TMC had managed to capture 211 seats in the 294-member Assembly. During this election year, Ms Banerjee faced an all out attack by BJP, Congress and CPI(M) which fielded top party stalwarts including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, a battery of Union Ministers, Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi and state leaders of these parties for campaigning but they finally found that there was no way to stop her Trinamool Congress from victory.
The 61-year-old feisty Ms Banerjee emerged as a prudent leader who not only ended the Left Front’s 34-year rule in the state but also portrayed herself as an ‘icon of change’ in the state. The large-scale ”corruption” of Mamata Banerjee-led Government in the state was laid bare by a sting operation less than a month ahead of the assembly elections conducted by Narada News. The sting operation shows many top leaders and ministers of TMC accepting bribe from the representatives of a fictitious company, ‘Impex Consultancy’, in exchange for recommendations and lobbying for the company.
The year witnessed the collapse of the under-construction Vivekananda Road flyover in which over 20 people lost their lives. The incident led to political mudslinging with TMC chief putting the blame on the previous LF Government. After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8, TMC supremo was the first to go all out against the decision terming it “anti-people” and “financial emergency” in the country. Political observers say the demonetisation issue gave Ms Banerjee a much-awaited opportunity to try her luck in playing a major role in the national politics in view of the 2019 elections. The State Government scored a major victory in the Supreme Court on August 31 which termed as “illegal and void” the acquisition of land in Singur by the previous Left Front regime for Tata Motors’ Nano car project by ordering restoration of the land to the farmers. The Chief Minister described the apex court ruling as a “landmark victory” for her party. World-famous social worker Mother Teresa, who devoted her life to the poor, has been declared a Saint in a canonisation Mass held by Pope Francis in the Vatican on September 4. A Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mother Teresa, was one of the most influential women in the Church’s 2,000-year history. Saint Teresa of Calcutta ? the city where she dedicated her life to her work and set up the Missionaries of Charities ? became the fifth Indian to be made a saint and has been made a saint of the Roman Catholic Church.
She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and died in 1997. The two-day Bengal Global Business Summit 2016, which was held on January 7 and 8, has secured investment commitments to the tune of at least Rs 2,50,104-crore, Ms Banerjee said. The 22nd edition of Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) was inaugurated in the presence of a galaxy of stars, including megastar Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Bengal brand ambassador Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Sanjay Dutt, Parineeti Chopra and a host of stars from the Bengali film industry. Bachchan inaugurated the festival by lighting the ceremonial lamp. Renowned poet Shankha Ghosh was chosen for the Jnanpith, the country’s highest literary award. History repeated itself in the Indian Super League as Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) edged out Kerala Blasters for their second title in three season. ATK were crowned champions of the Indian Super League (ISL) after a string of gritty performances that saw them win the title for the second time in three seasons. Magsaysay Award winner, renowned author and social activist Mahasweta Devi, whose writings focused on the marginalised communities in the country and served as the voice of the oppressed, died here after a
multi-organ failure on July 28 at the age of 90.
Bodybuilder Manohar Aich, (104), who was once a household name in Bengal after becoming India’s first Mr Universe in 1952, died at his Baguiati residence in Dumdum on June 5.
Kolkata, December 30