Mamata Banerjee likely to expand Cabinet on Tuesday
Kolkata, Nov 8: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee may expand her Cabinet on Tuesday and she is likely to keep the finance portfolio for herself and make Chandrima Bhattacharya the minister of-state in that department, a top source in the government said on Monday.
Former Finance Minister Dr Amit Mitra, who had expressed his inability to continue as a minister owing to his fragile health conditions, might be made an advisor.
Veteran Trinamool Congress leader and Agriculture Minister Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay might be given charge of the panchayat department following the sudden death of Subrata Mukherjee last week, the source said.
There is a high probability that Udayan Guha, who recently won the by-poll in north Bengal's Dinhata constituency by a record margin of 1.64 lakh, would be made a minister.
BJP leader Nisith Pramanik, who became Union minister later, had won the assembly election by a wafer-thin margin of just 57 votes defeating Guha from the Dinhata seat earlier this year. He, however, resigned as an MLA to keep his membership in the Lok Sabha after the TMC secured a landslide victory, necessitating the by-poll.
"Udayan Guha may be made the North Bengal Development Minister, a portfolio which was being overseen by the CM herself following the defeat of Goutam Deb who was defeated in the Assembly elections," the source said. Braja Kishore Goswami, a first-time MLA who won from the Santipur seat in the October 30 by-election, is also likely to be made a minister.
According to the official, Transport and Housing Minister Firhad Hakim and Forest Minister Jyoti Priya Mallick might be given additional charges of two other departments.
Either of the two ministers might be getting charge of the consumer affairs, or self-help group and self-employment department which was held by Sadhan Pande, who is undergoing treatment at a Mumbai hospital.
The CM is currently holding charges of the consumer affairs, self-help group and self-employment departments while Pande remained a Cabinet minister without a portfolio.