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Mamta Banerjee can still become CM even after losing Nandigram

Despite losing the assembly election in Nandigram to BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari — a defeat her party has said she will appeal — Mamata Banerjee will easily retain her position as West Bengal’s chief minister.

The provisions for taking the oath as a minister are laid out in Article 164 of the Indian Constitution. “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, “ according to Article 164(4).

In other words, Banerjee will have six months to get re-elected as Chief Minister of Bengal in a by-election from any Bengal constituency. Banerjee was a member of Parliament when she took oath as Chief Minister for the first time in 2011, as she had not run in the assembly elections. She was elected from Bhabanipur after a few months.

“Constitutionally, legally and morally, no one can or should object to Mamata Banerjee becoming the CM and getting elected within six months. If anyone objects, it would not only be churlish but would also betray a lack of knowledge of the Indian constitution, “ said Abhishek Singhvi, Congress leader and legal expert.

The TMC’s victory in the state is it’s third in a row, solidifying Banerjee’s grip on the state, which had seemed tenuous just a few weeks ago. It also boosts her national status in a non-BJP, non-Congress coalition. The fact that she defeated a slew of national leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, would undoubtedly enhance her reputation as a warrior.

Banerjee overcame anti-incumbency and a slew of defections orchestrated by the BJP, including her one-time protege Adhikari, who defeated her in Nandigram, with a focus on welfare schemes and a campaign depicting her as “Bengal’s daughter.”

“In Parliament, as in state legislatures, there is a provision for being a minister first and then being elected later. According to Article 75, paragraph 5 of the Constitution, “A Minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of either House of Parliament shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a Minister.”

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