Mamata may induct new faces in cabinet rejig

Kolkata, Dec 25 : Days after she pulled up "non-performing" ministers, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee may induct some new faces when she undertakes a rejig of her council of ministers Thursday.

Veteran Congress legislator Ajoy Dey, fellow party legislator Soumitra Khan, and lone Samajwadi Party lawmaker Chand Mohammad - all who recently defected to the ruling Trinamool Congress - are among those eyeing ministerial berths.

Trinamool's lawmaker Shashi Panja too may get a look in, though technically the council of ministers has only one vacancy caused by the resignation of Humayun Kabir, who switched over to the Trinamool from the Congress.

He was made a minister, but had to quit after failing to get elected within six months.

As per law, the state can have a maximum of 44 ministers - 15 percent of the total number of lawmakers - one more than the present strength.

Speculation is rife that an ailing Environment Minister Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar, is likely to be replaced.

Dastidar, who represents Mahisadal constituency in East Midnapore, has asked to be relived from his duties as a minister on health grounds, sources said.

Thursday's reshuffle is giving some anxious moments to some ministers who were pulled by the chief minister for "non-performance" at a closed door meeting Dec 20.

Banerjee reportedly was unhappy with two of her key ministers while reviewing performance of various departments ahead of next year's Lok Sabha polls.

Political circles feel, while some ministers may be inducted, one or two ministers of state may be promoted to the cabinet rank. Cabinet heavyweights, who have failed to "deliver", may be made to shed some of the multiple porrfolios they hold.

Banerjee last reshuffled the cabinet November 2012.

--IANS (Posted on 25-12-2013)

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