AFTER months of open rebellion against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after being moved out of the coveted agriculture department,Trinamool Congress MLA from Singur Rabindranath Bhattacharya has accepted the olive branch offered to him by senior party leaders.
Bhattacharya is all set to join as Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation,the ministry he had refused to take charge after the last cabinet reshuffle in November,2012.
(Trinamool Congress vice-president) Subrata Buxi gave me the proposal to join the office,and I said I would consider it favourably. It was not only Buxi,but other leaders like party general secretary Mukul (Roy),(Industry Minister) Partha (Chatterjee),(Labour Minister) Purnendu (Basu) all requested me to come back (to the cabinet). I will take a decision, Bhattacharya told The Indian Express on Sunday.
The octogenarian and the retired school headmaster had played a pivotal role in Mamata Banerjees Singur movement. Known for his clean image,he was made a minister in her cabinet after the party came to power. He was later made agriculture minister. But soon after he was moved out of the department to a non-significant Statistics and Programme Implementation Department,a peeved Bhattacharya refused to take charge of the ministry and returned to Singur. He had then said that he had no knowledge anything about statistics and programme implementation and could not do justice to the department. He had even accused some of the party leaders of being involved in extortion about which he said the Chief Minister was aware.
Since his resignation was not accepted,he technically remained a minister,who had not taken the charge of his new department.
I dont know about the statistics department. Two officials of the department came to me though and apprised me of the situation. They said the Centre had given Rs 64 crore for conducting economic survey of the state. What interests me is that there is nothing related to purchase and sale which leads to corruption. So I have showed interest for that, added Bhattacharya,who is known for his clean image.
The MLA said that he told Buxi that Mamata should assign him some other department. But Buxi said he should first join the statistics department and then the CM would consider changing his department, he added.
The groundwork for the return of Bhattacharya was made a few months ago as he started attending public meeting of the party and also with Becharam Manna,another MLA from Singur with whom his relations had soured.
It was at Saturdays INTTUC conference in Singur,where senior leaders of the party made pitch for his return to Kolkata.