KOLKATA: The BJP’s upsurge in the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal has prompted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to reshuffle her Cabinet, divesting two ministers of their portfolios and shifting another to a less important department.
Social Welfare Minister Sabitri Mitra, Tourism Minister Krishnendu Chowdhury and Public Works Minister Subrata Saha had earlier been warned by Mamata not to indulge in factionalism, which is said to have led to the defeat of Trinamool Congress candidates in three constituencies.
While Krishnendu, who had defected from the Congress and managed to win a bypoll from a party stronghold in Malda, has been shifted, the other two ministers are left without any portfolio.
Both Lok Sabha seats were retained by the Congress in Malda district with Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury and Mausam Benazir Noor winning by good margins. Congress candidate Abhijit Mukherjee’s victory in another Congress stronghold, in Murshidabad, has been attributed to laxity on the part of Subrata.
In Malda South, BJP nominee Bishnupada Roy came second with 2,15,516 votes.
While the BJP won two seats, it received more than 20 percent of the votes polled in 10 constituencies and more than 10 percent of the votes polled in 15 seats, leading to an overall percentage of 17.Mamata also gave additional responsibilities to Finance Minister Amit Mitra and Commerce Minister Partha Chatterjee.
A large number of young voters have reportedly thrown their weight behind the saffron party and their presence was noted during Narendra Modi’s campaign meetings in the state.
Mamata has called a review meeting of all ministers in her Cabinet on Wednesday, to improve governance and streamline the functioning of all departments.
Chief Secretary Sanjoy Mitra on Tuesday held a meeting with all departmental secretaries over the progress in each ministry and will submit a report to the Chief Minister.
At Wednesday’s meeting with her ministers, Mamata will assess whether they have been able to meet their targets and utilise funds allotted to their departments.
She will also look into the ministers’ role in the election campaign and “reward” with more funds or “punish” them based on the assessment, said a TMC leader.