Mamata Banerjee hogs limelight in West Bengal

Mamata Banerjee

Singur MLA and minister Rabindranath Bhattacherjee resigned from the government in protest against change of portfolio. On the backdrop of news of TMC factional feud pouring in from all corners of the state, Mamata sent out a strong message to all party leaders and urged them to refrain from infighting.

The year also saw desertion from Congress to Trinamool Congress with Mamata making no secret of her wish to marginalise her former ally and even to overrun the last remaining bases of the Congress in the state.

Humayun Kabir, Congress MLA from Murshidabad and a loyalist of Minister of State for Railways Adhir Chowdhury resigned from the party to join Trinamool Congress. Another Congress MLA Krishnendu Chowdhury from the Congress stronghold of Malda district also joined the TMC.

Both Kabir and Chowdhury were rewarded as Mamata inducted them into the ministry.

A day after completing 16 months in power, Mamata effected the biggest reshuffle on November 21 giving preference to grassroots-level organisers in South Bengal with an eye on the forthcoming panchayat elections.

With an eye on next year's panchayat polls, Mamata showered more sops on the Muslim community including new loan schemes, creating an employment bank and promising official stamp on 10,000 madrasas. She declared monthly honorarium and housing subsidy for imams in the state.

The political climate in West Bengal also hotted up following a recent police-villagers clash at Loba village in Birbhum district allegedly over land acquisition issue.

After a month-long impasse, riddled with complaints of violence, cargo-handling firm Haldia Bulk Terminal (HBT) recently announced it was quitting Haldia port because of "unsafe" work conditions.

In a major victory for the Tatas, the Calcutta High Court on June 22 said the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011, is unconstitutional and invalid.

The victory was seen seen as a blow for the TMC supremo who had used Singur as one of her poll planks to oust the Communists from the state.

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