Mamata Banerjee Rejigs Bengal Cabinet; Ex-BJP MP Babul Supriyo Gets Berth; 8 New Ministers Join Team

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West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee effected a reshuffle in her cabinet on Wednesday by inducting eight new ministers, including former BJP MP Babul Supriyo. The cabinet reshuffle comes close on the heels of former minister and Mamata’s trusted aide Partha Chatterjee’s arrest in the infamous teacher recruitment scam case.

The new ministers took oath, while adivasi minister Birbaha Hansda took a fresh oath after being promoted to minister with independent charge. Those who took oath were Supriyo, Snehasish Chakroborty, Partha Bhowmick, Udayan Guha and Pradeep Majumdar as ministers in charge; Hansda and Roychoudhury as ministers with independent charge; and Tajmul Hussain and Satyajit Burman as ministers of state.

Party sources said Supriyo has been given the charge of information and cultural affairs, as well as tourism department.

“I thank Mamata didi… she has inspired me… TMC has accepted me… I am very charged right now… will do everything that the CM tells me,” Supriyo was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. As a BJP leader, Surpiyo was a harsh critic of the Mamata Banerjee-led state government, and was often known to court controversies through his statements against the ruling party.

The new-look cabinet reflects a “holistic Bengal” with emphasis on tribal identity and North Bengal. The chief minister will also be taking on a new working mode with the state government and the Trinamool Congress being separate entities, sources said.

Cooch Behar’s Guha is a significant inclusion from North Bengal. The TMC did not perform well in Cooch Behar during the 2021 assembly elections.

With these additions, however, the chief minister is looking to start afresh after being hit by the Chatterjee fiasco, with an administration that bears a “clean image”. She had promised swift action in corruption-related cases, and the cabinet rejig is an early example of a bid to deflect her harshest critics.

Party insiders said ministers who will be dropped will be given more responsibility in the TMC organisation. On Monday, Mamata had said, “Some new faces will come because Subrata Mukherjee is dead, Sadhan Pande also passed away, and Partha Chatterjee is behind bars. So it’s not possible for me to look after everything. Some new faces will come and some leaders will work in the party.”

The TMC has decided that different people will have responsibilities in the party and government. The CM has decided that the cabinet must bear a pan-Bengal look, with panchayat elections coming up next year.

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