Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inducted two new faces in her Cabinet on Monday, taking the total number of ministers to 44. Chandrima Bhattacharya, who recently won the bypoll from Kathi Dakshin Assembly seat, returned to the ministry after nearly a year. She was minister of state (MoS) for health, law and judicial affairs from 2011 to 2016. However, she lost from Dum Dum North seat in the 2016 Assembly polls. Bhattacharya will serve as MoS for health under Mamata as well as take independent charge of e-governance. She became the fifth woman to join the 44-member ministry.
The other entrant — Ujjwal Biswas — had won in the 2016 Assembly election from Krishnanagar Dakshin seat in Nadia district. Despite serving as the minister for technical education in the first Mamata Cabinet from 2011 to 2016, Biswas was not made a minister when the chief minister took office for the second term last year. On Monday, he was inducted as minister-in-charge of correctional administration.
Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi on Monday administered the oath of office and secrecy to Bhattacharya and Biswas at Raj Bhavan. Mamata, state Legislative Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee, several state ministers and other bureaucrats were present at the ceremony. After the ceremony, Mamata said, “Chandrima will take charge of health and e-governance and Ujjwal will take care of the jail (correctional administration) department. Abani Mohan Joardar, who holds the correctional administration portfolio, will be in the ministry but without any portfolio as he is not well.”
The chief minister later left for Delhi to attend a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, scheduled for Tuesday.