Similar but not same: The success stories of Jayalalithaa, Mamata


They are India’s best known women chief ministers and they have carried their parties to massive comeback wins, defying tradition and the odds. Mamata Banerjee and J Jayalalithaa are without a doubt the biggest individual winners of this election contest.

When one thinks of the two, it is mostly by their nicknames. Banerjee is Didi and Jaya is Amma.

But that’s where the similarities between the streetfighter from West Bengal and the matinee idol-leader from Tamil Nadu end.

Banerjee, in trademark white sari with blue border and rubber slippers, is the common man’s CM. The 61-year-old Trinamool Congress chief lives on Harish Chatterjee street, a low-income neighbourhood. She eats frugally — filling up on puffed rice, tea and biscuits — and has endless energy, covering over 100 rallies and two dozen padyatras during her campaign. She sleeps little and keeps her cellphone on 24X7.

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