Mamata’s new Cabinet has 43 members, 20 of them new faces

Published : May 10, 2021 21:20 IST

Governor Jagdeep Dhankar administers the oath to new Ministers, with a few taking the oath virtually (on screen) owing to the coronavirus pandemic, at the Raj Bhavan in Kolkata on May 10. Photo: Swapan Mahapatra/PTI

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s new Cabinet of 43 Ministers was sworn in on May 10 in Kolkata. Returning to power for its third consecutive term following a huge victory over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the just-concluded Assembly election, the new Trinamool Congress Ministry has 20 new faces and nine women, including the Chief Minister. “Twenty new faces in a Cabinet is a very big deal,” said Mamata, adding that the new Cabinet has representation from different communities in West Bengal. The Ministry has 25 Cabinet Ministers, 10 Ministers of State with independent charge, and nine Ministers of State. While almost all the old faces in the previous Ministry were back, there was some reshuffling of portfolios.

Mamata kept for herself six important portfolios – Home & Hill Affairs, Personnel and Administration, Health & Family Welfare, Land and Land Reforms and Refugee Relief and Rehabilitation, Information & Cultural Affairs, and North Bengal Development. Amit Mitra, who could not contest in the election, has been included in the Cabinet and has retained his old portfolio of Finance; and Partha Chatterjee will continue to be the Minister of Industry, Commerce & Enterprise, Parliamentary Affairs, and Information Technology and Electronics. Some of the other important members of the Cabinet include Firhad Hakim, who has been given the portfolios of Transport and Housing; Moloy Ghatak, who has been given Law, Judicial and Public Works; Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, who has been given Agriculture; and Jyoti Priya Mallick, who got Forest and Non-conventional & Renewable Energy Sources.

Complete lockdown unlikely

Addressing her first press conference after having a meeting with her new Cabinet, Mamata once again indicated that there may not be a complete lockdown in the State. “We have already put many restrictions in place. It is my suggestion that instead of going for a complete lockdown, we behave as though there is a lockdown. Local trains have been stopped, jute mills have been ordered to work with 30 per cent workforce, hawkers have been given a particular time to conduct business. If we go for a complete lockdown now, people will not be able to eat. There are many poor people who earn on a day-to-day basis…” said Mamata.

Meanwhile, the spread of COVID-19 showed no signs of slowing down, with 19,445 new cases being recorded on May 10, taking the total number of active cases in the State to 1,27,299. With 134 people dying on May 10, the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the State stood at 12,595. Testing of samples continued to remain low, with just 62,186 samples tested on May 10.

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