To wither the Adhikaris’ clout which has posed the most serious challenge to Trinamul Congress hegemony in Midnapore, chief minister Mamata Banerjee has picked six ministers from this district.
Ostensibly Midnapore was the Adhikaris’ fiefdom but six TMC MLAs have battled successfully against the myth. Trashing all speculation of a rout, TMC candidates won nine out of 16 seats in Midnapore (east) and 13 out of 15 seats in Midnapore (west).
It was a pyrrhic victory for Suvendu Adhikari, now the Leader of the Opposition, when he defeated Miss Banerjee at Nandigram in Midnapore (East). Never making any secret of his opposition to turncoat Suvendu who had revolted against his party’s chief, Soumen Mahapatra was already in the state Cabinet.
The MLA from Midnapore (east) has been made minister for irrigation and waterways. A known Suvendu-baiter, Akhil Giri has been made minister of state with independent charge of the fisheries department. A former IPS officer, Humayun Kabir has been given independent charge of technical education, training and skill development department.
Veteran leader, Dr Manas Bhunia has been made minister for water resources investigation and development department. Seuli Saha has been made minister of state of panchayat and rural development department. Srikant Mahato has been made minister of state in micro, small and medium enterprises and textile department.
The allotment of ministerial berths to the six legislators sends a message to the Opposition that it has been indeed outmaneuvered in Midnapore, considered to be a district of BJP stronghold after Suvendu’s defected to the saffron camp.