Abhishek Banerjee, 33, joined politics as a member of the Trinamool Congress in 2011 after the party decimated the Left Front
The Indian state of West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress on Saturday elevated Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek to the party's second highest post, putting an end to speculation over the future role of her heir apparent.
Member of Parliament Abhishek Banerjee was made the general secretary at the regional party's first organizational meet since it swept back to power in the last month's assembly elections in the state. This was announced by the Trinamool Congress in a statement to the media.
The 33-year-old youth leader joined politics as a member of the Trinamool Congress in 2011 after the party decimated the Left Front, a coalition of Communist parties, which ruled Bengal for 34 years. This year, Abhishek was instrumental in hiring poll strategist Prashant Kishor.
Last month, Mamata scripted history by singlehandedly pulling off an astounding victory in the assembly election. She defied anti-incumbency and staved off a huge challenge from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling BJP.
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Though her party swept back to power with a resounding majority of 213 seats in the 292-member assembly, the 66-year-old lost her own seat in Nandigram to her former protege-turned-rival Suvendu Adhikari by a thin margin of around 2,000 votes.
"This is Bangla's win ... this is Bengal's win ... this is your win. This win has saved Bengal, it has saved the culture and tradition of Bengal," she said, addressing a press meet on the counting day.
Mamata had, however, made it clear in that presser that she would challenge the result in a court of law. "How come the Election Commission reversed the results in Nandigram after formally announcing it? We will move court."
The BJP though has made major gains in Bengal, winning some 77 seats. In 2016, the party had just three legislators in the state. However, the Left Front has failed to grab a single seat this time. The Left Front ruled Bengal for 34 years — from 1977 to 2011.
Bengal witnessed the most high-profile contest in India's recently held state elections. While Mamata harped on being Bengal’s daughter, the BJP asked people to vote for "change and socio-economic development" after 50 years of Communist and Trinamool Congress rule.