Mamata looks for 8 new ministers

Mamata looks for 8 new ministers
After her landslide victory in the Assembly polls, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee is busy looking for new faces in the next Cabinet as eight of her ministers lost their seats. Insiders believe these losses will eventually come as a relief to the chief minister.

The most significant loss was Madan Mitra, who has been languishing in jail for nearly two years in the multi-crore Saradha scam. He earned the dubious reputation of being the first minister to contest from behind bars. He, however, lost from his home turf Kamarhati in North 24 Parganas by nearly 5,000 votes to CPM’s Manash Mukherjee. 

Another minister who failed to make it was Food Processing Minister Krishnendu Narayan Chowdhury, who lost from Englishbazar in Malda by more than 39,000 votes to (Independeant) Nihar Ranjan Ghosh - the widest margin among the losing ministers. Chandrima Bhattacharya, who held the Health and Law and Judicial Affairs portfolios, lost to the Left-Congress coalition candidate Tanmoy Bhattacharya by 6,549 votes in Dum Dum. While outgoing Power Minister Manish Gupta, who defeated erstwhile chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in 2011, lost by nearly 15,000 votes, Shankar Chakraborty lost by only around 1,450 votes. Sabitri Mitra lost by more than 12,000 votes. Former CBI director Upen Biswas, who was the Backward Communities Development Minister, lost by over 12,000 votes and Textiles Minister Shyamaprasad Mukherjee lost by merely 891 votes. Yet another minister Abdul Karim Chowdhury lost by around 7.700 votes.

No adverse effect
According to TMC sources, none of these losses will adversely affect the party’s prospects in the constituencies. “Although no one will admit this, these losses are accepted, and in some cases, welcome. The party and Didi will benefit from many of these losses,” a source said.

Following the Opposition onslaught over graft within TMC, Mamata had decided to leave out some leaders involved in corruption.

“In the past, she has stood by leaders like Mitra even after they were exposed. But she doesn’t want her poll pitch of personal integrity to be affected,” a top leader said.

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