Mamata to reshuffle cabinet on Wednesday amid Partha Chatterjee's arrest
Days after former West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee was put in jail, CM Mamata Banerjee announced a cabinet reshuffle. Four to five new faces will be inducted into the cabinet owing to Chatterjee's arrest and the demise of two other ministers. The new ministers will take oath on Wednesday. Additionally, seven new districts will be carved out in the state.
Why does this story matter?
Chatterjee, a senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and former West Bengal minister, is the latest in a long line of opposition leaders apprehended by the ED. His detention was earlier condemned by the TMC as a "ploy" to "harass" political opponents. However, he has been sacked from ministerial posts and suspended from the TMC due to his alleged involvement in the SSC jobs scam.
Cabinet rejig on Wednesday
Banerjee announced that the cabinet reshuffle will take place on Wednesday and new ministers will take oath at 4 pm. At least four new faces will be inducted into the cabinet, and reportedly will hail from younger generations. "Since nephew Abhishek Banerjee has more influence over the party's youth, he will also have more command over the new cabinet," sources told The Indian Express.
What did Banerjee say?
Banerjee clarified that they don't plan to dissolve the whole ministry or form a new one. "We lost ministers Subrata Mukherjee, Sadhan Pande. Partha is in jail so all their work has to be done. Not possible for me to handle alone," she said after a cabinet meeting. Chatterjee, the Commerce & Industry and Parliamentary Affairs Minister was sacked on July 28.
Bengal to have 7 new districts
The CM also announced that seven new districts will be carved out. The Murshidabad, North 24 Parganas, and Nadia districts of WB will be further divided into seven districts- Ichhamoti, Basirhut, Berhampore, Ranaghat, Kandi, and Sundarban. The existing Bankura district will be divided into two to form Bishnupur. This will increase the number of districts in WB from 23 to 30.
Former WB minister pleads innocence
On Monday, Chatterjee said that the money recovered by ED does not belong to him. "You will find out when the time comes," he said when further asked if someone conspired against him. To date, ED has seized Rs. 50 crore in cash and 5kg worth of gold from homes belonging to Arpita Mukherjee's homes, a close aide of the former TMC general secretary.
Both accused in ED custody till August 3
Chatterjee and Mukherjee were arrested on July 23 after the ED reportedly found Rs. 21 crore in cash from Mukherjee's Tollygunge residence. The ED collected an additional Rs. 29 crore from her second residence during an 18-hour operation on Wednesday. Mukherjee allegedly informed the ED that her home was utilized as a "mini-bank." Both accused will be held in jail until Wednesday (August 3).