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CPI (M) to retain Dasgupta and Chakraborty in Ministry

Written by: Staff

Kolkata, May 14 (UNI) Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta and Transport Minister Subhash Chakraborty are among the old timers to be included in the new Ministry even though the CPI(M) is set to induct a number of new faces in the seventh Left Front Government, going to take oath on May 18.

While the fates of Mr Dasgupta and Mr Chakraborty--two high profile ministers in the outgoing Government--came under cloud following a controversy within the party, veteran CPI(M) leader Jyoti Basu today made it clear that both would be retained.

''Subhash will be in the Ministry, so will Asim,'' he said in a terse reply to reporters' questions after attending a bipartite meeting of the CPI(M) and the second largest Front partner Forward Bloc.

Mr Basu said the meeting had discussed the names of possible members of the new Council of Ministers, headed by Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

The CPI(M), which had already prepared its own list of Ministers, held two other separate bipartite meetings with the RSP and CPI during the day.

Uncertainty had prevailed over the inclusion of Mr Dasgupta following strong opposition from within the CPI(M). A number of Ministers were said to be aggrieved with the way Mr Dasgupta sat over files and denied funds while a section of party leaders was in favour of replacing Mr Chakraborty with a fresh recruit and giving him the Labour portfolio, held in the outgoing Government by Mr Mohammad Amin, who has been defeated in the elections.

Mr Chakraborty, a marverick CPI(M) bigwig, known for his penchant for kicking up controversies, has been a protege of Mr Basu, who is of high opinion also about Mr Dasgupta, performing the responsbility as Finance Minister for long.

However, the party's Politbureau, which met in Delhi yesterday to discuss the size of the new Ministry, reportedly decided to retain Mr Dasgupta with a caution to mend his way. It also decided to ask Mr Chakraborty to choose between Ministry and higher position in the party.

The Politbureau also approved the list of probable Ministers from the CPI(M), prepared by party's West Bengal State Committee and gave a free hand to Mr Bhattacharjee in the allocation of portfolios.

Both Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Left Front Chairman Biman Basu had said earlier that fresh blood would be pumped in the new Ministry to strike a balance between the young and veterans.

The Front had dropped the names of as many as eight Ministers from the list of electoral candidates and there were possibilities that few of the Ministers, who had crossed the electoral hurdle, might not find place in the new Ministry.


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