Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress has reacted strongly to four BJP MPs from the state being appointed as junior ministers at the Centre after a major reboot of the Cabinet on Wednesday. BJP MPs from the state – John Barla, Nisith Pramanik, Dr Subhas Sarkar and Shantanu Thakur – were made Ministers of State as PM Modi reshuffled his Cabinet for the first time since he took office for a second term in 2019.
“John Barla is a separatist and a fool,” Trinamool Congress MP Sougata Roy said about the tribal leader and MP from North Bengal’s Alipurduar who has been made the Minister of State for Minority Affairs.
In recent times, Mr Barla made headlines with his demand that a Union Territory be carved out of West Bengal in the north. He claimed north Bengal has been neglected and deprived of all development by the government that is based out of Kolkata, the southern part of the state.
Bengal Transport Minister Firhad Hakim attacked Nisith Pramanik, the newly-appointed Minister of State for Home, over pending criminal cases, including a murder charge, against him.
“The Home Minister was involved in an encounter case in the past. By becoming a Minister he got away with it. These new ministers will also get away,” Mr Hakim said.
Nisith Pramanik, an MP from Cooch Behar is a member of the Rajbanshi community. At 35, he is the youngest minister in the Union Cabinet.
There have been no direct attacks on the other two Ministers of State so far.
Dr Subhas Sarkar, an MP from Bankura, has been appointed as the MoS for Education and Bongaon MP Santanu Thakur as the MoS for Shipping.
Both are being viewed as strategic political appointments – Dr Subhas Sarkar is from the Junglemahal area of the state while Santanu Thakur comes from the Scheduled Caste Matua community who has been demanding the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act.
“Narendra Modi’s cabinet reshuffle has definitely been made with an eye on 2024,” said Political Analyst and Professor Biswanath Chakraborty. “Where can BJP get seats in 2024? With that in mind, he has selected ministers from Bengal from communities where BJP has influence and a chance to win in 2024.”
News Source: NDTV News