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Mamata resigns as Railway Minister

Staff Reporter
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Mukul Roy designated new Union Minister of State for Railways

TOAST OF THE TOWN:West Bengal Chief Minister-designate Mamata Banerjee mobbed by admirers at her residence in Kolkata on Thursday.– PHOTO: Sushanta Patronobish
TOAST OF THE TOWN:West Bengal Chief Minister-designate Mamata Banerjee mobbed by admirers at her residence in Kolkata on Thursday.– PHOTO: Sushanta Patronobish

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee resigned as Union Railway Minister on Thursday. She is to be sworn in as West Bengal Chief Minister on Friday.

Ms. Banerjee sent her resignation letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, according to senior Railway officials here. She had spoken to Dr. Singh asking that her party retain the Ministry, which is the only Union Cabinet berth her party has.

New Delhi Special Correspondent adds:Union Minister of State for Shipping and Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy will now additionally become the new Minister of State for Railways. According to officials in the Prime Minister's Office, Mr. Roy, besides holding his current portfolio, will be a junior Minister for Railways. At the Cabinet level, the Railway portfolio will be retained by Dr. Singh.

Ministers to be sworn in today

There are already two Ministers of State in the Railways, Bharatsinh Solanki and K.H. Muniappa.

Ms. Banerjee became Railway Minister in the UPA-II government in May 2009. She was the Railway Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government for less than two years.

Back in Kolkata, a crop of retired IPS officers, a retired IAS officer, a theatre person and a corporate leader are all set to be among the elected Trinamool Congress legislators who will be sworn in as ministers on Friday when Mamata Banerjee leads her team to take the oath of office at Raj Bhavan.

According to reports, the list of invitees for the occasion stretches to over 3,000.

As per the official list available at the Secretariat on Thursday, the cabinet of West Bengal's first woman Chief Minister will be a large one, with 36 ministers from the Trinamool alone excluding Ms. Banerjee.

The names include former State Chief Secretary Manish Gupta, former FICCI Secretary-General Amit Mitra, three retired police officers including former CBI officer Upen Biswas, thespian Bratya Basu, and medical doctor Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar.

There is fair representation for minority communities with five names featuring in the list — Janab Abdul Khan Chowdhury, Javed Khan, H.S. Safwi, Nure Alam Chowhdury and Firaad Hakim.

Other prominent names are Trinamool general secretary Partha Chatterjee, former Congress Minister Subrata Mukherjee, Trinamool State president Subrata Bakshi, and Goutam Deb, who won from Darjeeling district. Rabindranath Bhattacharyya, who won from Singur, is also set to become a minister.

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