April 19, 2010

Two new faces in Bengal LF ministry

KOLKATA, 6th APRIL, 2010:  Soumendranath Bera, CPI(M) legislator from Purshura, and Dasharath Tirkey, RSP legislator from Kumargram, were sworn in to the state Cabinet by Governor M K Narayanan at the Raj Bhavan on Tuesday. Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, along with his Cabinet colleagues, was present on the occasion. Chief secretary Asok Mohan Chakraborty, home secretary Ardhendu Sen, DGP Bhupinder Singh, LF Chairman Biman Basu and several other dignitaries were present at the swearing-in ceremony.With the induction of the two ministers, the strength of the Cabinet now stands at 45.

 The Congress and the Trinamool Congress, meanwhile, boycotted the function. While the Trinamool skipped the function in pursuance of its policy of avoiding the chief minister on all forums, the Congress said it was not invited. “Why should we go there if we are not invited?” said Manas Bhuina, Congress Legislature Party leader.

With the daunting task of improving his party’s chances in the upcoming civic polls and 2011 Assembly elections, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has finally appointed a deputy in the Department of Information and Cultural Affairs in order to focus on party activities and other issues plaguing the state. Interestingly, the CM held this portfolio since the time Left Front came to power in 1977.

Forty-seven-year-old Dr Saumendranath Bera, also known as Anjan, a Professor of Journalism in Calcutta University, was sworn in as Minister of State for Information and Cultural Affairs (I & CA) on Tuesday. On being inducted as a minister, Bera said: “I have just taken charge today. Let me settle down first and then I will talk.”

CPI(M) state secretariat member Rabin Deb said: “Bera was taken in place of former power minister Mrinal Banerjee who passed away recently. Of course, we also wanted to take a major workload off the CM’s shoulders as he is our main campaigner for the upcoming polls.”

A party leader said: “With the Maoist menace becoming a serious law and order problem, the CM will have to devote more time to the home ministry. Also, with the elections around the corner, he will have to crisscross the state and campaign for the party. That is the other reason for inducting Bera.” “It is for the chief minister, who is also the minister in-charge of the department, to delegate the powers. But it seems that Bera will have to take the entire charge of the department just like the way Abdus Satar of minority affairs department does,” an official of I & CA department said.

Eldest son of Bishnu Bera, who was also a CPI(M) legislator, Saumendranath completed his graduation from Bangabashi College, Kolkata, and later did his Masters in Journalism from Calcutta University. Now, a professor in the same university, he is associated with various academic committees.

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