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Mamata reshuffles Ministry, drops one Minister

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Kolkata: In a major reshuffle of her 18-month Ministry in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on November 21 divested portfolios of at least seven Ministers, interchanged some and dropped one while inducting eight new faces, including two former Congress MLAs, mostly from rural Bengal.

Sources said that the reshuffle was undertaken as the Chief Minister was dissatisfied with the pace of work and performance of some Ministers.

The Minister dropped was Shyamal Mondal, who was in charge of Sunderbans Development as a Minister of State.

Mondal was replaced by Manturam Pakhira.

Both Chowdhury and Kabir resigned as Congress MLAs to join TMC, who would seek reelection to the Assembly in bypolls.

The reshuffle was necessary to fill up six vacancies created by the resignation of Congress Ministers following their party’s pull-out from the Mamata Banerjee Ministry  on September 22, in a tit-for-tat response to the TMC’s decision to walk out of the UPA government at the Center.

Senior Minister and State’s former chief secretary Manish Gupta was divested of his Planning portfolio and he will continue to look after power and non-conventional energy sources.

The Planning Department was given to Rachpal Singh, who was divested of his tourism portfolio which would be taken care of by new face Krishnendu Narayan Chowdhury.

Agriculture Minister Rabin-dranath Bhattacharya was stripped of his portfolio and given Statistics and Program Implementation.

Moloy Ghatak, who was Law and Judicial Minister, will be the new Agriculture Minister.