Even as the final touches were being given to preparations for the swearing-in ceremony on Friday of Mamata Banerjee and her new Council of Ministers, the Trinamool Congress chief sent an emissary to the residence of out-gong Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Thursday to invite him and his wife to the event.
Partha Chatterjee, deputy leader of the Trinamool Congress Legislature Party went across to Mr. Bhattacharjee's residence on Palm Avenue to invite him to the swearing-in ceremony of the new Ministry “as per the instructions of Mamata Banerjee.”
This, despite the State administration having earlier sent an invitation to Mr. Bhattacharjee as is the protocol.
Mr. Bhattacharjee and other senior leaders of the Left parties including chairman of the Left Front committee, Biman Bose, who have also been invited are expected to be present at the swearing-in ceremony.
Mr. Chatterjee later handed over to Governor M.K. Narayanan the list of ministers belonging to the Trinamool who are to be sworn in. The Congress is likely to be a part of the ministry.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the swearing-in ceremony which will commence at 1.01 p.m.
Senior police officials will be deployed at all the gates of the Raj Bhavan and security will be tight as well in the surroundings of the Writers' Building, which has been given a face-lift. Ms. Banerjee along with her ministers will go there after being sworn in.
People from various walks of life are among those to be invited to the ceremony. They include politicians and well-known personalities from the worlds of business, art and culture.
Among the Union Ministers who will be present are Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Defence Minister A.K. Antony.
Giant screens will be put up at certain locations in the city to enable people to watch proceedings live.
This is in deference to a desire of Ms. Banerjee to be sworn in with the people as witness.
She had earlier wanted the ceremony to be held at the city's Brigade Parade ground but was advised against it because of security reasons.
Admirers by the scores continued to throng Ms. Banerjee's residence on Harish Chatterjee Street in the south of the city despite the inclement weather and occasional showers for a glimpse of her.
Barricades were put up in front of her house to keep at bay the milling crowds.