Trinamool Congress (TMC) Chief Mamata Banerjee took oath as the Chief Minister of West Bengal for her third consecutive term on May 5. After eight rounds of polling in the middle of the pandemic, the results were announced on May 2. TMC won 213 seats while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had set a target of winning more than 200 seats out of the 294-member assembly, won only 77.
This is not the first time that people have re-elected a chief minister for a third term.
Here’s a list of some of the longest-serving chief ministers of India, including some who have been re-elected more than thrice.
Pawan Kumar Chamling: Pawan Kumar Chamling is the longest-serving chief minister of any Indian state after Independence. Chamling, the founder president of the Sikkim Democratic Front, governed the state for five successive terms (24 years) since 1994, when he was elected the fifth chief minister of the northeastern state, to 2019.
Jyoti Basu: Jyoti Basu was the longest-serving chief minister of West Bengal from 1977 to 2000. He was one of the co-founders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and a member of the party Politburo since then. After the Left Front (alliance group of communist and socialist parties) came to power in 1977, Basu became the sixth chief minister of West Bengal and served for 23 years until he resigned from the position in 2000. It is said that he could have been India's Prime Minister but turned down the post.
Naveen Patnaik: Naveen Patnaik is the longest-serving chief minister of Odisha. He became the 14th chief minister of the state in 2000 and won five consecutive terms since then. The president of Biju Janata Dal, he has written three books.
Manik Sarkar: Manik Sarkar is the 9th chief minister of Tripura. The longest-serving chief minister of Tripura, Sarkar was first appointed to the post in 1998 and served the post till 2018. Sarkar is a politburo member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). He was sworn in as the leader of the Left Front-led Tripura coalition government in 2008 and served for four consecutive terms. Currently, he serves as Leader of Opposition in the Tripura Legislative Assembly.
Mohan Lal Sukhadia: Mohan Lal Sukhadia served as the chief minister of Rajasthan for 17 years. He became chief minister at the age of 38 and was responsible for several major reforms and development in Rajasthan. He is also called the 'creator of modern Rajasthan'. He was in office from 1954 to 1971.
Shri Krishna Sinha: Shri Krishna Sinha was the first premier of Bihar Province as it was then known under the British, in 1937. He (along with other Congress chief ministers) resigned in 1937 over India being dragged into World War II without the consent of the people. Post-independence, he served as chief minister of Bihar from 26 January 1950 till his death in 31st January 1961.
Raman Singh: Raman Singh was the longest-serving chief minister of Chhattisgarh, with three consecutive terms starting from 2003 to 2018. He’s the national vice-president of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Tarun Gogoi: Tarun Gogoi was the longest-serving chief minister of Assam from 2001 to 2016. He was a member of the Indian National Congress and led the party to win three consecutive electoral victories. During his tenure, he is credited with putting an end to the militant insurgency and reducing crime, as well as improving the state's fiscal situation.
Okram Ibobi Singh: Okram Ibobi Singh was the chief minister of Manipur from 2002 to 2017. He was the chief minister for three consecutive terms for 15 years.
Sheila Dixit: Sheila Dixit was the longest-serving chief minister of Delhi, as well as the longest-serving woman chief minister of any Indian state. She led the Congress Party to form the government in Delhi for three consecutive terms starting from 1998 to 2013. She is regarded as the architect of modern Delhi.
Maruthur Gopalan Ramachandran: Maruthur Gopalan Ramachandran popularly known as MGR, was an Indian politician and film actor who served as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for over nine years between 1977 and 1987. He placed great emphasis on social development, especially education. One of his most successful policies was the conversion of the "Midday Meal Scheme", into "MGR's Nutritious Meal Scheme" in the government-run and -aided schools in Tamil Nadu by adding saththurundai – a nutritious sugary flour dumpling. This scheme benefitted more than 120,000 children.
Bidhan Chandra Roy: Bhindan Chandra Roy was the second chief minister of West Bengal, and he served for 14 and a half years. He was an Indian physician and freedom fighter who served as the CM of West Bengal from 1948 till his death in 1962. Roy is often considered the Maker of Modern West Bengal. National Doctor’s Day is celebrated in his memory every year on July 1 in India.
Nar Bahadur Bhandari: Nar Bahadur Bhandari was the 2nd chief minister of Sikkim, who governed from 1979 to 1994. He is popularly known as the architect of modern Sikkim.
Bimala Prasad Chaliha: Bimala Prasad Chaliha was the chief minister of Assam for three consecutive terms from 1957 to 1970. He was a member of the Indian National Congress and a freedom fighter who was jailed in Jorhat in 1942 for participating in Mahatma Gandhi's Quit India call. During his term as the chief minister, the Assam Official Language Act, 1960 was enacted making Assamese the sole official language of the state. He was also opposed to the division of Assam into smaller states like Nagaland and Mizoram.
Narendra Modi: Before becoming the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi served as the chief minister of Gujarat for almost 13 years. He was first appointed as chief minister in 2001 by Atal Bihari Vajpayee with the motive to prepare BJP for the 2002 assembly elections. He won the next three consecutive terms. In 2014, he won the Lok Sabha Elections and became the 14th Prime Minister of India.
Vasantrao Phulsing Naik: Vasantrao Naik served as the chief minister of Maharashtra from 1963 to 1975, making him the longest-serving chief minister of the state. He is considered the father of the Green Revolution in Maharashtra. The industrialization of Maharashtra is largely the legacy of his progressive industrial policies.
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was the chief minister of West Bengal from 2000 to 2011. A former member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), he launched an industrialization drive to change the face of West Bengal, which had agriculture as the primary source of income. This led to widespread opposition and the fall of the Communist Party in Bengal. He was succeeded by Mamata Banerjee.
Mamata Banerjee: Mamata Banerjee is serving as the 8th chief minister of West Bengal since 2011. She’s the first woman to hold the office. As the head and founder of the All-India Trinamool Congress (TMC), she defeated the 34-year-old Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front government, the world's longest-serving democratically elected communist government. She took oath as the chief minister of West Bengal for the third time on May 5.