After more than three decades in power, the Communists have been elected out office by voters in the province of West Bengal in India.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC), led by charismatic firebrand, 56-year-old Mamata Banerjee, defeated her opponents in the landslide.
The outgoing Communist Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya has submitted his resignation to the state governor.
Widely blamed for the state’s economic woes, the Communists had been the longest-serving, democratically-elected Marxist government in the world.
Banerjee is a key ally of the Congress Party which currently rules India, but which has been dogged by a corruption scandal.
The TMC was founded in 1998 after she had a falling out with the Congress Party,
This is a victory of democracy, victory of 'Maa, Maati Manush' [mother, land and people], Banerjee told her supporters.
We will give good governance. There will be an end to autocracy and atrocities. This is the victory of people against years of oppression.”
Banerjee’s emergence has been extraordinary.
As recently as 2006, the TMC party won only 10 percent of the seats in a local assembly, while a left-wing coalition led by the Communists snagged an overwhelming 80 percent. In 2004, TMV gained such one of the 42 seats in the senate of West Bengal.
Over the years, as the economy waned, Banerjee gradually gained popularity through her street-fighting style, modest lifestyle and animated speeches. More importantly, she became a champion of West Bengal’s teeming masses of rural poor.
She resorted to Marxist rhetoric, whereas Marxist parties changed their class position and started acquiring farmers' land for private investors, political analyst Biplab Chakravarty told BBC.