Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee was on Friday sworn in as the chief minister of West Bengal for the second consecutive time heading a 42-member ministry with the Congress-Left combine and the state BJP boycotting the ceremony.
Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Ashok Gajapathi and Babul Supriyo, however, attended the ceremony, besides Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal. Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi administered the oath of office and secrecy to 61-year-old Mamata in Bengali at a function on the arterial Red Road here. After leaving her Kalighat residence in south Kolkata, Mamata, wearing her trademark white sari, walked some distance greeting people before boarding the car. She single-handedly steered her party Trinamool Congress to a spectacular victory winning 211 of the 294 seats in the Assembly defeating the Congress-Left combine and BJP.
A host of political leaders including Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's Kanimozhi were present at the ceremony. Leaders of Congress and the Left parties boycotted the swearing-in to protest against alleged post-poll violence by TMC. State BJP leaders also stayed away from the ceremony alleging post-poll violence.
Jaitley, however, said that the central ministers attended the programme in the spirit of democracy. The 42-member TMC ministry has 29 Cabinet ministers, including the chief minister, five ministers of state with independent charge and eight ministers of state.
Prominent cabinet ministers include Amit Mitra, Subrata Mukherjee, Partha Chatterjee, Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, Firhad Hakim and Sovan Chatterjee, who is also the Mayor of Kolkata. Women ministers include Sashi Panja, Asima Patra and Sandhyarani Tudu. The new ministry has 18 new faces.
After taking oath, Mamata left for 'Nabanna', the state secretariat where she was given a guard of honour by the police. Flower petals were showered as she entered the secretariat. "I consider myself as a commoner. My life is dedicated for the cause of the people," she said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Mamata Banerjee on taking oath as the chief minister of the east Indian state of West Bengal for the second time and said he looked forward to working closely with her government for the state's growth. "Congratulations to @MamataOfficial ji & her team on taking oath. Looking forward to working closely with the WB Govt for the state's growth," Modi tweeted.