Mamata takes charge of Bengal for 2nd term

Left, Cong stay away in protest against violence

Mamata takes charge of Bengal for 2nd term
Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee set the tone for her new administration as she took oath as West Bengal Chief Minister for the second term on Friday.

Red Road, nestling in the Maidan’s greenery in central Kolkata, was the venue of Bengal’s first ever public swearing-in ceremony. The event was a celebration of the ruling party’s massive victory in the Assembly elections. Used as a tarmac for fighter jets during WWII, Red Road, with its huge platform erected for the occasion, was host to not just celebrities, but also people from all walks of life.

Standing testimony to what Mamata called “a historic moment for Bengal”, the VVIP section saw Trinamool leaders rubbing shoulders with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, chief ministers Nitish Kumar, Arvind Kejriwal and Akhilesh Yadav, RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav, National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah and singer-MP Babul Supriyo of the BJP. From captains of industry to celebrities from the world of Bengali TV and cinema, everybody stood up to applaud the beginning of Mamata’s second term in office.

At exactly 12.47 pm, reportedly on the advice of her astrological counsellor, Bengal’s first woman Chief Minister took oath, led by Governor Kesahri Nath Tripathi. The governor also administered the oath to her council of ministers, who went up on stage in groups of four and five to pledge their allegiance to the Constitution. The 42-member Cabinet has 18 new faces, including cricketer Lakshmi Ratan Shukla. He won the Howrah North seat, defeating BJP candidate and actress Roopa Ganguly.

Though the Cabinet included leaders who were recently embroiled in a controversial video showing them receiving illegal cash, the mandate of 211 to Trinamool, including all 11 seats from Kolkata, prevented anyone from questioning the move.

First Cabinet meeting
After the ceremony, Mamata went to Nabanna to hold her first Cabinet meeting and decided on portfolios. She had shifted the secretariat out of the historic Writers’ Buildings in October 2013 to the 11-storied building at Howrah.

The Left and the Congress stayed away from the ceremony in protest against post-poll violence across Bengal, allegedly orchestrated by Trinamool activists.

Sources said the local BJP unit cancelled its statewide protest under pressure from the national leadership, which sent Jaitley, Supriyo and Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju as representatives.

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