Modi, Sonia to be invited to Mamata’s grand swearing-in

Mamata Banerjee on her way to meet Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi in Kolkata on Friday. (Express Photo: Subham Dutta)

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee will showcase her thumping victory in the West Bengal Assembly elections in what would be, as she described it, a “people’s swearing-in ceremony”.

The who’s who of national politics will be invited — including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu among a host of BJP Union ministers, AICC chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad. “It’s going to be a long list,” said a Trinamool leader.

The venue will be impressive too. The event will be held at Kolkata’s Red Road, built by the British during World War II. The swearing-in ceremony will be held on May 27 and the new legislature is likely to have its first sitting on May 31.

Speaking to mediapersons on Friday, Mamata said that her previous government’s swearing-in had taken place on the Raj Bhavan lawns, but Red Road would be able to accommodate more people. “The people may like to see the swearing-in ceremony. After all, it is their victory,” she said.

Earlier, the newly elected Trinamool MLAs unanimously chose Mamata as the leader of the AITC legislature party, paving the way for her to become chief minister for the second time. After the meeting, Mamata met Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi, handed over the list of new MLAs and informed him about the oath-taking ceremony.

The party meeting was a stormy one as Mamata pointed out several setbacks in the party’s election results and cited internal sabotage as the reason. Sources privy to the meeting said that she mentioned the defeats of several ministers, as well as candidates in Haldia, Tamluk and Shantipur and sought reports. She also warned that it was everyone’s responsibility to respect the massive mandate of the people and not do anything to embarrass the party.

Mamata was also reportedly upset with the results in Darjeeling and Malda districts, where the Trinamool did not win any of the 18 seats. Two of its ministers lost in Malda and star candidate Bhaichung Bhutia could not win Siliguri. “She said we have serious deficiencies and limitations in our leadership in Siliguri and there is need for an overhaul. South Dinajpur is also on her radar and she said that internal problems had cost us some seats there, too,” a source said.

Violence reported
Hours after the Trinamool Congress rode to power, incidents of violence were reported across the West Bengal. At Baghmundi in Purulia, Trinamool worker Lakshman Pramanik was reportedly attacked and killed during a Congress victory procession. In Purulia, two CPM offices were allegedly razed by Trinamool workers. ENS