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She brought the marxists to their knees in 2011 and in 2016, winning a second term with a two-third majority. It seems as if nothing could hold her back: an Opposition nipping at her heels, the muck from the financial scams, even a severe Election Commission that was always breathing down her neck. Mamata travelled extensively through the state to appeal to voters to vote for her and, by extension, the development of Bengal. She was ma, didi and pahradar (watchman) of Bengal, all rolled into one tangail-clad, rubber chappal-shod matir mei (daughter of the soil). Here are five other reasons why she made headlines this year:
• She returned the Singur land to the farmers, keeping an old promise she had made after courts nixed the Tata acquisition.
• She changed West Bengal's name-it's now Bengal in English, Bangla in Bengali. The Centre has to clear it. • • She distributed shoes, satchels and cycles to children, under the project Sabuj Sathi. Girl students also got gold-plated bangles under the Kanyashree scheme, a token of recognition for continuing in school instead of getting married. • • She's a champion of women's causes. Apart from introducing 730 days of childcare leave for the state's women staff, there's now a month of paternity leave for new fathers. • • She has been at the centre of Opposition protests against PM Narendra Modi's demonetisation drive. "Oust Modi, save the country," she says. Loudly. And often. • -by Romita Datta