New MoS from West Bengal dares her to move no-trust motion

In Sunday’s Cabinet reshuffle, two of the three Ministers sworn in from West Bengal are the most vociferous critics of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the State Congress.

Deepa Dasmunshi, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury were the only ones from the State to be sworn in as Minister of State (MoS).

That all the three are leaders in districts where the Congress continues to have a significant presence — Ms. Dasmunshi in Uttar Dinajpur, Mr. Chowdhury in Murshidabad and Mr. Khan Choudhury in Malda — despite the surge in the Trinamool Congress’ popularity elsewhere in the State, must have been on the minds of the high command when deciding on what is being projected as the last major reshuffle before the next general election.

Both Ms. Dasmunshi and Mr. Chowdhury have led from the front protests organised by the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee (WBPCC) against Ms. Banerjee’s government on issues such as farmer suicides, the deteriorating law and order situation, and attacks on women. They were critical of the Trinamool chairperson even when the two parties were in an alliance. The snapping of ties only added wind to their sails.

Not long after the swearing-in, Mr. Chowdhury dared Ms. Banerjee to bring a no-confidence motion in Parliament if she really believed that the UPA government had only six months to go.

The Berhampore MP, who is set to take charge as the MoS for Railways, minced no words when commenting on Ms. Banerjee’s performance as the Railway Minister. Ms. Banerjee had announced several projects for the State but failed to see most of them through, he charged.

Mr. Chowdhury had opposed the alliance between the two parties, saying he did not want the Congress to become a constituent of the Trinamool-led government in the State.

During the 2011 Assembly elections, he had defied senior Congress leaders, including Pranab Mukherjee, and backed independent candidates in the four seats in Murshidabad district that the Trinamool had claimed for itself.

That there is no love lost between Ms. Banerjee and Ms. Dasmunshi was made abundantly clear by the latter. She holds Ms. Banerjee personally responsible for holding back her pet project for her constituency — the setting up of an AIIMS-like institute at Raiganj.