— Neha Thirani (@nehathirani) April 19, 2012
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is the only Indian leader on Time magazine’s 2012 list of the 100 most influential people in the world, joining the likes of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. (Here’s the full Time magazine list.) Ironically, the news came on a day when teachers in her state capital, Kolkata, staged a protest rally because a university professor was arrested by the police for emailing a cartoon about her.
Honest, plain-living, courageous but intolerant of criticism, she has already alienated some people after coming to power last May after 34 years of communist rule in the state. Five days ago, Kolkata’s leading newspaper published a fiery article demanding her resignation. The newspaper didn’t even carry the news of her making the Time magazine list, as Derek O’Brien, a Trinamool Congress member of parliament, pointed out.
Mamata Banerjee in Time mag’s world’s Top100 influential list.No big deal,na!Not a line abt it in her home citys The Telegraph — Derek O’Brien (@quizderek) April 19, 2012
Mamata Banerjee’s influence doesn’t really extend beyond West Bengal. Her party, Trinamool Congress, holds only 19 seats in the 542-member Lok Sabha, the Lower House of the Indian parliament. All the 19 Trinamool Congress members of parliament in the Lok Sabha were elected from West Bengal. But Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s coalition government needs their support to remain in power.