Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee was on Friday sworn-in as West Bengal’s chief minister for the second time. Forty-one others also were sworn-in as her ministers.
Banerjee and her ministers were sworn in by governor Keshari Nath Tripathi on a stage set up on the city’s prime thoroughfare at 12.45pm, a time chosen by the ruling party chief herself.
Banerjee, the state’s eighth chief minister and the first woman to occupy the post, took her oath in Bengali. In 2011, Mamata — Bengal’s first woman chief minister — was sworn in at the Raj Bhavan after she overthrew the 34-year-old Left Front regime from power.Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar along with other senior police officials inspecting Red Road. (PTI)
The ceremony took place in the presence of around 5,000 invitees drawn from among the top names in international and national politics, industry and the world of art and culture.
The VVIPs included the Prime Minister of Bhutan, Tshering Tobgay, the industry minister of Bangladesh, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, apart from sports personalities and film stars from Bollywood and Tollywood.Kolkata: Sketches of chief minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee drawn by Pavement artist Ramzan Hussain. (PTI)
The Trinamool chief called on Tripathi at the Raj Bhavan on Thursday and handed over to him a list containing the names of her 41 ministers.Former Bengal cricket captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla, singer Indranil Sen, retired police officers Abani Mohan Joardar and James Kujur and CPI(M) leader-turned-Trinamool MLA Abdur Rezzak Mollah will be part of Banerjee’s team.Shukla, 35, was the Bengal cricket team captain and also played for IPL teams KKR, Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad. Now, he is a member of the Mohun Bagan cricket team.There will be 18 new faces, one of whom is Churamani Hansda, who was a member of People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities, an outfit that collaborated with CPI(Maoist) in the state.
West Bengal chief minister & Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee at her Kalighat residence in Kolkata on Tuesday. (PTI)Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee, a close lieutenant of the chief minister, has been also named as a minister."Sovan will be given a portfolio related to his present assignment at the KMC,” Mamata said.In the list of ministers are four women, including the chief minister. The cabinet will also have seven Muslim faces.The face that stands out in the new team is that of Mollah, an eight-time CPI(M) MLA and land reforms minister in the Left regime, who was a severe critic of former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and industry minister Nirupam Sen. He had openly spoken out against the Bhattacharjee regime’s acquisition of land in Singur and Nandigram.The district with most ministers — seven — is South 24-Parganas, followed by Kolkata — five — and North 24-Parganas — four. Darjeeling and Malda will have no representation in the cabinet because the Trinamool drew a blank in those districts.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee at her Kalighat residence in Kolkata on Tuesday. (PTI)There are seven names from the previous ministry who won the elections but were dropped. Prominent among them are Becharam Manna and Rabindranath Bhattacharya, both members of the Singur movement. Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar was also dropped because of his poor health."We have included several new faces in the cabinet. We have more eligible candidates but all can’t be accommodated. We have drawn up this list after considering caste, creed, religion factors,” Mamata said after meeting the governor on Thursday evening.
“The cabinet is a mixture of youth and experience,” Partha Chatterjee, who is also the secretary-general of the Trinamool Congress and the spokesperson of the party in Bengal, said. Read | State BJP to boycott but Jaitley will attend Mamata’s swearing-inWest Bengal chief minister & Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee accepts greetings of people at her Kalighat residence in Kolkata. (PTI). Mamata was to leave for the secretariat, Nabanna, to chair her first cabinet meeting right after taking oath and is likely to be tied up with a rash of engagements.While the cabinet meet is scheduled for 4.30pm, the chief minister was likely to arrive at the secretariat by 3pm.“The chief minister is likely to spell out her vision and underline the priorities of the new government. She is also likely to pass on instructions and advice cabinet members on how to go about implementing her vision and policies over the next five years,” a member of the outgoing cabinet, who may retain the old portfolio over the next five years, said.
“Some critical issues, including the drought-like situation in some districts, rise in the prices of essential food items and commodities, and administrative reforms, among others, are likely to come up during the meeting,” the member added.Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee in a relaxed mood at her Kalighat residence in Kolkata on Tuesday. (PTI)Mamata, according to sources, is also likely to interact with media persons at the Press Corner on the first floor of Nabanna. “There’s every possibility of the chief minister holding a conference with the secretaries, principal secretaries and additional chief secretaries of different state departments and enquire about the progress of the projects on their watch,” said the member of the earlier Mamata Cabinet.This former minister also said that in her meeting with the secretaries of different departments, the chief minister would take stock of government sponsored projects that have been stuck since the poll dates were announced.
“The chief minister is likely to advise the officials on ways to make up for lost time and set fresh deadlines for completing all pending projects. A separate meeting with top police officers, including the DGP (director general of police) and the commissioner, is also on the cards,” a Trinamool leader said. He said that although the chief minister will be in for a tight schedule on Friday, she is keen to send out a clear signal that she means business.