Governor M. K. Narayanan has issued an order appointing Mamata Banerjee as Chief Minister of West Bengal.

This is “in exercise of the power conferred on him [the Governor] by Article 164 (1) of the Constitution of India,” said a statement issued by the Governor's secretariat at Raj Bhavan here on Tuesday.

Swearing-in on Friday

Ms. Banerjee along with other members of her Ministry will be sworn in by the Governor on Friday. The ceremony will commence at 1.01 p.m.

Mr. Narayanan had invited Trinamool Congress chief Ms. Banerjee, to form a new government in the State in a letter on Monday, a day after the Trinamool Congress leadership had formally staked its claim to do so, submitting a list of 184 newly-elected MLAs of the party.

Ms. Banerjee had been unanimously elected leader of the Trinamool Congress Legislature Party on Sunday. She had announced then that her Ministry would be, for now, “small” in size.

The Congress with which the Trinamool Congress had forged an electoral alliance has already submitted a letter of support to the government to be headed by Ms. Banerjee.

Though Ms. Banerjee, who had called on Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Monday, has invited the Congress to be part of her new government, a final word on the matter is awaited.

She had also invited both Ms. Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the swearing-in ceremony. But neither of the two leaders is likely to attend because of commitments.

Ms. Banerjee called on former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee at his residence here late on Tuesday evening.

Arrangements have begun in earnest within the Raj Bhavan compounds in preparations for the swearing-in ceremony to which nearly 3,200 persons from various walks of life have been invited.

Last function as Railway Minister

Staff Reporter writes:

In what was her last function as Union Railway Minister, Ms. Banerjee on Tuesday thanked every member of the “railway family” for the “support and cooperation” extended to her in the last two years, and promised her successor all possible help for the all-round development of the Railways.

With Ms. Banerjee all set to become the next Chief Minister, the cabinet berth for Railways will most probably be handed over to a Trinamool Congress nominee. Party MP and Minister of State for Shipping Mukul Roy is being touted as the frontrunner.

Pointing out that both the State government and the Railways Ministry will henceforth be overseen by the Trinamool, Ms. Banerjee said both would “make giant strides towards development simultaneously.”

“The Railways and the West Bengal government are now linked to each other and will remarkable progress by working together. I will extend a helping hand to my colleague and successor for the development of the Railways alongside running the State government,” she said amid applause from the audience at the Howrah station, where she flagged off seven trains and laid the foundation for a host of projects.

Claiming that ‘Vision 2020' she prepared for the Railways was enough to keep it on the development track for the next 20 years, Ms. Banerjee said her successor would work on the same lines.