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West Bengal's 3 after Mamata
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury
Two months ago, Chowdhury, along with a few other West Bengal Congress leaders, sat on a dharna at Sealdah station with the demand for a bridge on the river Bhagirathi near his home district of Murshidabad. Today, he finds himself headed for the rail ministry, represented by Mamata Banerjee's party till not long ago, and he could soon be asking for files of such projects. "I will definitely have on mind the projects that remain unfinished. At the same time I will work for new projects though you know a minister of state has his limitations," Chowdhury said. Chowdhury, 56, is a three-time MP from Baharampur. The appointment is said to be a reward for helping Pranab Mukherjee become an MP from Jangipur in 2004 and in 2009 and in helping his son Abhijit win the seat this month. A school dropout, Chowdhury has five criminal cases against him.
Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury
Congress, Malda dakshin
MoS, Health & Family Welfare
Mild-mannered and educated abroad, Khan Choudhury, 74 is the brother of former Union minister A B A Ghani Khan Choudhury. The induction of the MP from Malda Dakshin is being seen as a move to keep the Muslim vote-bank intact in the minority-dominated districts of Malda and Mursdhidabad. Born in 1938, Choudhury, "Dalu" to his admirers, studied industrial psychology in England and Canada and has been MLA twice, in 1996 and in 2006. A first-time MP, he has worked for a university in Malda. "I will try to bring Ratan Tata to North Bengal and to set up an AIIMS at Raiganj," he said.
MoS, Urban Development
Deepa, 52 and the wife of Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, replaces the Trinamool's Sougata Roy. She has been in the Congress since 1997. She is a postgraduate in dramatics. She echoed Khan Choudhury's top priority: to set up an AIIMS-like hospital at Raiganj. She received the Prime Minister's call when she was going to visit her husband in hospital. "I will try my best to improve the urban infrastructure of West Bengal," she said. She has been in a tussle with Mamata Banerjee over the location of the super-specialty project and feels her new position will help her in her cause. Her appointment is being seen as a move to pitch a strong rival against Mamata. She is a gold medallist from Rabindra Bharati University and an award-winning theatre artiste.