The seventh Left Front government, headed by Manik Sarkar, assumed office in Tripura on Wednesday. Governor D.Y. Patil administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr. Sarkar and 11 Ministers.

Mr. Sarkar became the Chief Minister for the fourth consecutive term, holding the post since March 1998.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury, leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly Surya Kanta Mishra and many dignitaries were present at the swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan.

Congress boycotts

The Congress, which won 10 seats in the 60-member Assembly, boycotted the ceremony, citing alleged atrocities on party workers and supporters by ruling party cadres, a charge which the CPI(M) has refuted.

Veteran CPI(M) leader Anil Sarkar, who was a minister in all the Left Front governments since 1978, was also present. Mr. Sarkar, also a renowned poet, educationist and intellectual, has been made vice-chairman of the State Planning Board. He said he was happy for paving the way for a new minister.

Bijita Nath, one of the five woman legislators, was again inducted into the ministry. This ended widespread speculations that Bijay Laxmi Sinha, wife of slain Health Minister Bimal Sinha, would replace her.

The 12-member Ministry has only two new faces – Ratan Bhowmik and Bhanu Lal Saha. Mr. Saha was the Deputy Speaker in the last Assembly while Mr. Bhowmik is a first time MLA.

After Mr. Manik Sarkar, Aghore Debbarma, Badal Choudhruy, Tapan Chakrabarty, Manik Dey, Jitendra Choudhruy, Khagendra Jamatia, Manindra Reang, Ms. Nath, Sahid Choudhury, Mr. Saha and Mr. Bhowmik took the oath.

The Chief Minister and two Ministers took the oath in English. Two of four tribal Ministers took the oath in Kokborok, local tribal dialect, and the others in Bengali.

Mr. Reang belongs to the Communist Party of India. Other Left Front constituents, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the Forward Bloc, lost the elections.

The former DGPs, K. Salim Ali and G.M. Srivastav, who led successful counter-insurgency operations under the stewardship of Mr. Manik Sarkar, came to attend the ceremony in their personal capacity.