“President has fallen short in not asking government to do it”

President Pranab Mukherjee fell short of fulfilling his Constitutional obligation by not asking the government at the Centre to prove its majority before it rejigged the Council of Ministers, the Trinamool Congress said here on Sunday.

“The President had a Constitutional responsibility to ask the government to prove its majority, just as the government should have done this suo motu,” senior Trinamool Congress leader, and a Minister in the Mamata Banerjee government, Subrata Mukherjee said hours after the induction of three Congress MPs from West Bengal as Ministers of State (MoS).

“The President had a responsibility but the government had a greater responsibility. A government is not formed with the kind of support extended to it by Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati,” Mr. Mukherjee said. According to him, the dispensation did not have any letters of support from Mulayam Singh or Mayawati, and was thus only a minority government.

“It should have first established its majority in Parliament and then gone for such a major decision,” he observed.

Slamming the Cabinet reshuffle “unconstitutional,” Mr. Mukherjee said: “This government became a minority one following the Trinamool’s withdrawal of support… It [the situation] will lead to a lot of horse-trading in the future… Mulayam Singh and Mayawati’s support cannot form a government; only Bills can be passed.”

On the decision to draft in three Congress leaders from West Bengal as Ministers of State, Mr. Mukherjee said the move was aimed at “disturbing” his party. He was alluding to the appointment of two of Mamata Banerjee’s most vocal critics — Deepa Dasmunshi and Adhir Chowdhury — as MoS.

“From our experience we also know that Ministers of State are not given any powers to take decisions… It would have done such a big State good had it got at least a single representation in the Cabinet. Thus the State and its 10 crore people have been deprived,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

‘Injustice meted out to West Bengal’

Speaking in a similar vein senior Trinamool Congress leader and the former Union Minister of State, Saugata Roy, said in New Delhi that West Bengal that was represented by leaders like Pranab Mukherjee and Mukul Roy in the Cabinet previously is now unrepresented.

“Total injustice has been done to West Bengal. It has been thoroughly deprived and [the reshuffle] was made only to disturb the Trinamool Congress,” he said.

Mr. Mukherjee said that it was obvious that the Congress was “planning to disrupt and destroy peace in West Bengal.”

“We are apprehensive that there will be an escalation in [political] killings, particularly in north Bengal,” he said.