West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is a well known figure in Indian political circles. The Trinamool Congress chief has led her party to victory twice in the state and is currently campaigning for the upcoming Assembly elections. On Tuesday Mamata turned 66-years-old, with many extending their wishes via social media platforms.
Now, we all know Banerjee as a politician. Some are also aware of her proclivity towards poetry and painting. But did you know that she was the first female Chief Minister of West Bengal? Or that she was once part of the NDA? Below, we've put together a list of 10 facts that you probably didn't know about Mamata Banerjee. Take a look:
1. She was the Railway Minister of India twice. In 2002, she became the first female minister to present the Railways Budget. She is also the first female Minister of Coal, and MoS for Human Resource Development, Youth Affairs, Sports, and Women and Child Development.
2. While presently at loggerheads, Mamata has, in the past, been a part of both the Congress-led UPA and the BJP-led NDA coalitions. Prior to founding the TMC, Mamata had been a Congress leader. In 1999 she had joined the NDA, serving as a Minister under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. While she broke away from the NDA some time later, she would briefly return in 2003.
3. In 1984 she had become the youngest Lok Sabha MP, handing political heavyweight and three-time MP Somnath Chatterjee a surprise defeat. This would be the only time the CPI(M) leader would ever lose a Lok Sabha election - he was ultimately a ten-time MP.
4. The Bengal Chief Minister comes from a humble background. Having lost her father at an early age, she had taken up the task of helping to support the family. Reportedly Banerjee had even worked as a milk vendor to stave off poverty. This simplicity appears to have carried over to her later life.
5. The politician has academic degrees in multiple associated fields. She has a Bachelor's degree in History, a Master's degree in Islamic History and degrees in Education and Law. She also holds a honorary doctorate from the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology and a Doctorate of Literature degree from Calcutta University.