Post reshuffle, Mamata faces first open dissent

Bhattacharya

Rift within Rabindranath, Rabiranjan refuse to take charge of ministries

Wednesday's cabinet reshuffle by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has triggered a major dissension in her party, the Trinamool Congress, with two key ministers refusing to take charge of the new departments allotted to them.

Rabindranath Bhattacharya, the three-time MLA from Singur who was the man Friday of Mamata during her farmers' movement against the Tata Motor's car factory, on Thursday did not take charge as the minister for Department of Programme Implementation and Statistics.

A peeved Bhattacharya has reportedly tendered his resignation from the government and Assembly, did not assume his new charge at New Secretariat Building. "I did not take the charge of the new department. However, I am still the MLA of Singur. A time comes in everybody's life when a person needs to take decision on some issues. I will think over these issues seriously and will see how things go before taking the final call,'' Bhattacharya said on Thursday.

Bhattacharya was first made the minister for School Education Department when his party first came to power 17 months ago. Later, he was shifted to Agriculture Department. On Wednesday, he was moved out of the crucial Agriculture department and transferred to the insignificant department of programme implementation and statistics.

Bhattacharya ,who was a headmaster of a madhyamik school at Singur and considered to be the face of the Singur movement, said: "I started politics with the farmers and for the farmers. I belong to them. I can be removed from the agriculture department but I cannot be taken away from the farmers. I am always with them.''

Another minister, Rabiranjan Chatterjee, who lost one of the two portfolios he held in the latest cabinet reshuffle, did not hide his displeasure too. He was earlier in charge of Department of Technical Education and Department of Science and Technology. Now, he is left with the latter. He too did not take charge of Department of Science and Technology today. "It is my party's decision. I was never consulted before the decision was taken. I worked hard and made the neglected Technical Education Department functional. Now the department has been taken away from me. I will again make the Science and Technology Department functional which can then be given to some another person,'' the MLA from Burdwan (South) told The Indian Express.

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