Sending a strong message to her party leaders, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday effected a small reshuffle divesting two ministers of their charge while changing the portfolios of two others. The move comes following the poor performance of the Trinamool Congress in ministers’ respective areas in the Lok Sabha polls.
Minister in-charge of social welfare department Sabitri Mitra and minister for public works Subrata Saha are now ministers without portfolio while tourism minister Krishnendu Narayan Choudhury and education minister Bratya Basu were divested of their respective portfolios.
Subrata Saha, who is from Murshidabad, was accused by Mamata of not doing his best to get party candidate Indranil Sen elected from Behrampur constituency. Sen lost to state Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Choudhury.
Sabitri Mitra and Krishnendu Narayan Choudhury are from Malda where TMC candidates lost to Congress at Malda South and North. The duo had got into an ugly spat after the loss.
While social welfare has been given to Women and Child Development Minister Sashi Panja as additional charge, Choudhury, has now made minister for horticulture and food processing.
The actor and playwright-turned politician Bratya Basu, who was in line of fire after state recently witnessed protests by student wings of the Left parties and Congress against alleged irregularities in the recruitment of primary teachers in state-run schools, would now hold tourism portfolio.
Basu put up a brave front” “I had requested the CM to change my portfolio and give me a lighter one as I could not strike a fine balance between my career on stage and films with such a huge responsibility like education department. I am happy that the CM obliged me with my request,” Basu said.
Partha Chatterjee, the political heavyweight in the party and Mamata’s close associate who held IT, has given the important education portfolio. He will continue to look after the parliamentary Affairs portfolio” “It is a big challenge for me and I am sure I will rise to the occasion and meet the responsibilities given to me by our chief minister. I will try my best to bring back discipline in educational institution”,” Chatterjee, who will take charge Wednesday at Bikash Bhavan, told The Indian Express.
The reshuffle, which came five months after a similar exercise in December last year, saw Mamata allotting additional responsibility of information and technology department to Amit Mitra, who is now regarded as the second most powerful man in her Cabinet.
Mitra, a former director-general of FICCI already holds two key portfolios —- finance and industry besides Public Enterprises and Industrial Reconstruction.
After the Lok Sabha election win which Trinamool Congress won 34 out of 42 seats, the first head to roll was that of Moloy Ghatak, minister for agriculture. He was sacked for not doing his best to help party candidate Dola Sen win from Assansol. Ghatak was replaced by Arup Roy, who had been minister without portfolio since November 2013 when he was divested of the department of agricultural marketing following severe potato crisis in the state.