On the eve of a triumphant third tenure of the Trinamul Congress regime in the state, the announcement of Mamata Banerjee as the head of the Trinamul Legislative Party was a matter of mere formality.
But though she will have the last word, the matter of Cabinet composition is a far more complex issue. After Banerjee s one-time lieutenant-turned-political opponent, Suvendu Adhikari defeated her by a narrow margin at Nandigram, she would leave no stone unturned to cut him to size.
To achieve this end, Adhikari’s political rivals Soumen Mahapatra and Akhil Giri are expected to be accommodated in the next cabinet.
These likely inductions will prevent Adhikari from spreading his sphere of influence at the local level.
The Nandigram MLA’s criticism of the state government when the Assembly is in session are also expected to be blunted by suitable rejoinders from the duo.
The voting pattern of the just concluded election is going to have a bearing on the Trinamul chief s mind while she is picking and choosing her Cabinet colleagues in the next few days. A clutch of women legislators as well as those from the minority community together with those from scheduled caste and tribe segments are likely to get didi’s nod to be in the Cabinet. After years of being denied a foothold in Murshidabad and Malda, Trinamul candidates in these Congress strongholds have more than made up for the years of electoral failure.
It will be a priority of sorts for Banerjee to accommodate some of the winners of her party from these districts who reduced the Congress and CPI-M presence in these areas to a zilch.
Unlike the veterans in Opposition who were swept away by the people’s verdict in this election, those who were with the ruling dispensation for years have come out with flying colours in this poll. Be it Subrata Mukherjee, Sovandeb Chattopadhaya, Javed Ahmed Khan, or Firad Hakimall are claimants for key portfolios in the Cabinet.