Mamata Banerjee was Friday sworn in as West Bengal's first woman
chief minister, ending 34 years of uninterrupted Left rule in the
More than 3,000 invited guests watched as a beaming Banerjee, clad
in her trademark white sari and rubber slippers, was administered
the oath of office by Governor M.K. Narayanan at the Raj Bhavan
The Trinamool Congress chief, 56, who becomes the eighth chief
minister of the state, took her oath in Bengali.
Amongst those present to witness the historic occasion were union
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P. Chidambaram,
former state chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Left Front
chairman Biman Bose and other top leaders of the opposition
Crowds lined both sides of the road as her convoy set out from her
Kalighat residence in south Kolkata to the Raj Bhavan seven
kilometres away. Frenzied slogans like "Mamata Banerjee zindabad"
could be heard.
Banerjee's Trinamool Congress and Congress alliance won 227 seats
in the 294-member house.
the name of god'
In the first sign of change in West
Bengal, most ministers in the new Trinamool Congress-led
government Friday took oath of office in the name of god - quite
unlike the Marxist ministers who would swear allegiance to the
The Left Front, which ruled the state uninterruptedly from 1977,
was led by the communists, who are atheists by political belief.
The communist leaders would "solemnly" affirm their allegiance to
In contrast, most Trinamool Congress and Congress leaders, who
took oath of office Friday, used the expression "do swear in the
name of god".
Purnendu Bose, a Trinamool legislator, was a rare exception as he
simply said "solemnly affirm".
Banerjee struck other different notes as well. While her
predecessors of the Left Front era chose to go in a car from Raj
Bhavan to the state secretariat, Writers' Building, about two
kilometres away, the state's first woman chief minister walked the
distance amid the swirling crowds after the swearing-in.
And though, Banerjee, 56, is not one to be formally dressed, she
imposed a dress code on ministers -- the men were asked to take
oath in dhoti and kurta and the women in saris.