KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Friday appointed expelled CPM MP Ritabrata Banerjee as the convener of a newly-formed tribal welfare committee.
The decision to establish the committee was taken after a meeting at state secretariat Nabanna on tribal development in former Maoist bastion of Jangalmahal comprising the western districts of the state, where BJP swept the recent panchayat elections.
Speculations are rife that Ritabrata Banerjee may officially join TMC on the party's 'martyrs' day' on July 21. The Chief Minister removed tribal development minister James Kujur and took charge of the department after the poll debacle. Sources revealed that the former CPM MP will directly report to the TMC supremo after his appointment as the convener of the committee.
Sources revealed that the primary task of the committee would be to find the lapses of the tribal welfare schemes and recommend suggestions for improvement, keeping 2019 Lok Sabha elections in mind. Also, a WhatsApp group has been formed for the tribal welfare committee to send information directly to the state secretariat, sources added. The CPM's Rajya Sabha MP was expelled from the party in September last year after he alleged that the Left party had anti-Bengali and pro-Muslim bias, indirectly targeting politburo member and Raiganj MP Mohammad Salim and his son Russel Aziz. Since, then he had showered praises on Mamata Banerjee and hailed her as the 'beacon of hope for fight against BJP'.