Mamata Banerjee has lost her seat to her rival but she can still retain the post of chief minister of West Bengal as her Trinamool Congress party has won the elections to the state.
Banerjee conceded the loss by a narrow margin of 1,201 votes to BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari in the counting at Nandigram on Sunday after several media reported she had won.
Her party won a two-thirds majority, taking more than 200 seats in the 294-seat state assembly, election commission officials said. Final counting for some seats was still underway.
Most of the votes were cast in March, but polling in some constituencies continued through April, just as India started to detect thousands of new coronavirus infections everyday.
A sharp critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Banerjee largely conducted a one-woman campaign to retain power by leading scores of public rallies.
She is now India’s only woman chief minister.
“I accept the verdict for Nandigram. I will go to the constitutional bench,” she said after the final results were out.
As the question arouse whether she will continue to be the chief minister, the Indian media reported that there is precedence that she can.
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, News18 TV station noted.
They have not won Vidhan Sabha elections to become the chief minister. 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.
Citing the constitution, News18 said a minister, who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the state legislature, shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a minister.
This means that Banerjee has a six-month period 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, News18 explained.