State housing and fire and emergencies services minister Sovan Chatterjee stepped down from his ministerial posts and has also been asked to step down as the Kolkata Mayor, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Tuesday.
Making the announcement at the state secretariat, Mamata told reporters, “Earlier, he had wanted to step down from his posts on four occasions. However, we thought he will change his mind and therefore did not accept his resignation. Today, he again tendered his resignation, which has been accepted. Minister Firhad Hakim will now look after these two departments. He (Sovan) has been asked to step down from his post as Kolkata Mayor as well.”
Sources said Sovan is also likely to resign as Kolkata Mayor on Wednesday. Municipal Commissioner Khalil Ahmed will look after the activities of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) till a new mayor is elected.
Earlier in the day, during a question-answer session in the Assembly, CPM MLA Khagen Murmu asked Sovan to give details of how many people received houses under various state government schemes. The minister responded that around 25 lakh people have been given houses. Following this, Mamata, who was sitting behind Sovan, stood and corrected him, saying that nearly 40 lakh people have received houses.
A few minutes later, Sovan went to the chief minister’s chamber to speak to her for about 10 minutes, before going to his own chamber.
Later, he took part in an event at the secretariat, which was also attended by Mamata. After attending the event, Sovan went to the chief minister’s office and tendered his resignation to Gautam Sanyal, the principal secretary to the CM.
Sources said Sanyal forwarded the resignation letter to state Chief Secretary Malay De, who reportedly sent it to Raj Bhawan for Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi’s approval.
The Trinamool Congress leader was not available for comment.
Trinamool sources said that Mamata has been unhappy with Sovan’s performance on a number of occasions, and had taken action to warn him.
In June, Chatterjee was removed as state environment minister. State Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari was given additional charge of the environment department. In the TMC, Sovan was removed as TMC’s South 24 Parganas president. Ahead of the state panchayat polls, Mamata had benched Chatterjee and instead made senior party leader Subrata Bakshi the election observer for South 24 Parganas.