Kolkata Confidential

Who's No. 2?

WHO is the Number 2 in Mamata Banerjee's cabinet continues to be a topic of speculation. In Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's cabinet, Commerce minister Nirupam Sen formally held the position —an official notification was issued in this regard. But in absence of such an order by Mamata, nobody is sure who is actually the second in command — Commerce Minister Partha Chatterjee or Finance Minister Amit Mitra. Mamata seems to keep stoking the speculations from time to time. Recently, at a public event, she was flanked by the two at the dais where she referred Mitra as an "excellent finance minister" and called Chatterjee her "friend".

Rising NOOR

CONGRESS MP Mausam Benazir Noor is giving party colleagues a heartburn. She is seen gaining proximity to central leadership as was evident in Malda during the foundation-laying ceremony of an engineering institute, where she was seated next to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the dais, while the rest state leaders were seated on a separate dais metres away from it. Moreover, Noor's name was mentioned by all the speakers — Sonia, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union minister Pallam Raju. Adding to it, she later told mediapersons: "Soniaji asked me about my child."

Tough master

DEPUTY Speaker Sonali Guha is a tough task master while she is in the chair. Speaker Biman Banerjee shows some leniency in some matters, but Guha is strict in enforcing discipline and decorum inside the House. Take for example, an MLA can get away even after being spotted talking over phone when Banerjee is in the chair, but Guha will definitely get the cell phone confiscated.

Also a Record

CHIEF Minister Mamata Banerjee made a record when for the first time in two years, she answered an MLA's query on law and order — she holds the Home Department portfolio. Known for not attending the House regularly, it was a rare moment. But after raising hope, last Friday she skipped the House during an adjournment motion on law and order leaving her deputies to defend the government, something "unprecedented in the state's Assembly history".

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