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Trinamul sniffs bid to nettle CM

Calcutta, Oct. 28: The Trinamul Congress used words like “unconstitutional” and “unethical” to describe today’s cabinet shuffle but let the cat out of the bag by saying the induction of the Bengal trio was aimed at “nettling” Mamata Banerjee.

Trinamul leaders Subrata Mukherjee, the state’s panchayat minister, and MP Saugata Roy both said the induction of Behrampore MP Adhir Chowdhury and Raiganj MP Deepa Das Munshi was “motivated”.

“This was done deliberately to nettle Mamata Banerjee and the Trinamul Congress. Ministers of state have no importance and don’t have much to do,” said Roy, a former junior urban development minister whose berth has now gone to Deepa.

Both Adhir, inducted as junior minister in the railways, and Deepa are known critics of the Trinamul chief. Malda South MP Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury, named junior minister for health and family welfare, has also criticised the chief minister at times but been more restrained.

Mamata was silent on the shuffle but panchayat minister Mukherjee stepped up the attack in the evening. “MPs against whom inquiries are pending have been inducted,” he told a media conference at Trinamul Bhavan but didn’t mention any names.

“The Prime Minister talked about a clean government but unclean persons have found place. They are planning to disturb and destroy the peace of the state. They will have nothing to do in Delhi and will spend the time in Bengal working against the state’s interest,” Mukherjee added, flanked by state unit president and Calcutta South MP Subrata Bakshi and transport minister Madan Mitra.

Mukherjee said the UPA II government was in a minority and the Congress should have tested its strength on the floor of Parliament before the revamp. “After Trinamul pulled out, neither Mulayam Singh Yadav nor Mayawati has given in writing their support for the government. This is a minority government and it cannot go for such a reshuffle,” he said.

“In our opinion, the reshuffle is not valid. It is unconstitutional and unethical…. This reshuffle is a motivated ploy of narrow politics.”

Mukherjee also took a dig at the newly appointed junior ministers, saying they had put on the “half-pants” discarded by the former Trinamul ministers of state when they quit the Union ministry. “Not long ago they had said ministers of state are half-pant clad ministers. Now they are slipping into the clothes left by us.”

President Pranab Mukherjee, too, came in for criticism from Subrata Mukherjee. “The President has not carried out his duty as the constitutional head. He should have asked the government to establish its majority before taking any major decision. He should have asked for a trust vote,” the Trinamul leader said.