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Historic day in WB, Mamata takes oath

May 21st, 2011 Top News

Trinamool Congres chief Mamata Banerjee

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After 34 years, god was reinstated in the West Bengal Raj Bhavan on Friday.

Clad in her signature white-green saree and a cotton scarf on the shoulder, Trinamool Congres chief Mamata Banerjee took oath in the name of ishwar as the eighth chief minister of West Bengal. Her 33-member council of ministers also took oath of office and secrecy in the name of the god, as per their faith.

It was a remarkable departure from the communists who did not invoke God while being sworn-in at the helm of the state since 1977. But Didi has indeed brought with her paribortan . She was sworn-in at exactly 1.01 pm, the time selected as auspicious by her family priest, by governor M. K. Narayanan at the 208-year-old Raj Bhavan building.

Thousands cheered Mamata’s ascension to the throne of Bengal as the first woman chief minister of the eastern state, with her rivals – former CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Left Front chairman Biman Bose and former finance minister Ashim Dasgupta – among the guests.

After taking oath, Mamata joined a crowd of thousands of supporters in a historic walk up to the secretariat in the Writers’ Buildings – the place from where she was thrown out on January 7, 1993 for staging a sit- in demonstration in front of the then chief minister Jyoti Basu’s chamber.

Mamata had gone to meet Basu with a handicapped rape victim.

The entire stretch, from the governor’s house to the state secretariat, was flooded with people holding posters and photos of the new chief minister. They shouted slogans welcoming the Maa- Maati- Manush ( mother- land- people) government in Bengal.

” I will hold meetings with the governor every month for the betterment of Bengal,” she told reporters, immediately after coming out of a brief meeting with the governor over high- tea.

Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and union home minister P. Chidambaram also witnessed Mamata’s swearing- in. On reaching the Writers’ Buildings, the new chief minister came out on the first- floor balcony and waved to the cheering crowd.

Mamata surprised everbody by choosing such a large cabinet. In making it ” inclusive”, the size has turned bigger than the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee- led Left Front government. Apart from the 33 cabinet ministers and four ministers of state, five more ministers of state from the Congress, and one from the Trinamool Congress are likely to be picked up soon.

With the expansion of the council of ministry, the Trinamool Congress- led government will have 43 ministers ( excluding the CM). The Left Front government under Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had 42 ministers, including 32 cabinet ministers.

She has inducted six Muslim cabinet ministers ( five from the Trinamool Congress) in her government.