Kolkata: Former Union minister Babul Supriyo, agricultural expert Pradip Majumdar and six other Trinamool Congress (TMC) legislators took oath as West Bengal ministers last week after chief minister Mamata Banerjee carried out a major reshuffle of her cabinet amid a probe by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) into the bribe-for-job scam that has rocked the state.
Four MLAs – Supriyo, Majumdar, Snehasish Chakraborty and Udayan Guha – were sworn in as cabinet ministers by governor La Ganesan at Raj Bhawan on Wednesday afternoon in the presence of the chief minister.
Majumdar, Chakraborty and Guha, whose father Kamal Guha was a well-known minister in the Left Front era, were given charge of the departments of panchayat and rural development, transport and north Bengal development, respectively.
The new inclusions did not come as a surprise in view of Mamata’s recent efforts to sideline controversial leaders and project upcoming ones among whom many are known to be followers of her nephew and TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee.
The chief minister also changed the portfolios of several old incumbents. Minister of state for school education, Paresh Adhikary, whose daughter was sacked from a high school by Calcutta high court in view of her alleged illegal appointment as teacher during the job scam, was dropped from the government.
TMC functionaries said the rejig has a lot to do with Mamata’s preparations for the 2023 panchayat polls and the more crucial 2024 Lok Sabha elections in which the BJP campaign is expected to highlight not only corruption but bad governance as well.
The BJP, meanwhile, took a swipe at Supriyo. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave Supriyo opportunities to work for the nation. Let Bengal see what he can do for his people as part of a corrupt government. We wish him luck,” state party president Sukanta Majumdar said.