Despite Loss, Can Mamata Banerjee Still be Chief Minister By Taking Yogi, Thackarey, Nitish Kumar-Route?

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Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee has led her incumbent party to a massive win. However, in what turned to be a high-drama contest, she lost Nandigram to BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari by 1,622 votes.

In a see-saw contest that came down to the last round, her former protege and BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari clinched a photo-finish. Earlier, news agency ANI had reported that Banerjee had won.

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.

In order to be the Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee now has to become a Member of Legislative council (MLC).

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 an MLC.

An alternative route can also be Mamata filing nomination for any of the seats falling empty and contesting in a by-election, for example, Khardaha.

Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav, Manohar Parikar have all used “Article 173 Clause 3 sub-clause D” which says that newly elected Assembly by majority can elect non-MLA to a legislative Council, to become Chief Ministers.

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.”

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