September 22, 2022

Didi starts housekeeping and publishes a code of conduct for Mins

In an apparent effort to rebuild his party’s sagging image — following the arrest of chief minister Partha Chatterjee and Trinamool National Congress executive member Anubrata Mondal — Bengal’s chief minister issued a code on Thursday of conduct for his ministers asking them not to sign some of the specific files without scrutinizing them.

The chief minister’s advice to his ministers, particularly new ones who were sworn in very recently after a cabinet reshuffle, came after the arrest of Chatterjee on charges of money-for-employment scam and Mondal on charges of cattle smuggling.

“The BJP has tried to trick us…they have tricked us before…so I ask all ministers, especially those who have joined recently, to exercise utmost vigilance when signing certain specific files… these files should not be signed without a thorough review,” the chief minister said, prompting the opposition to question whether she had lost faith in her bureaucrats and office staff who act as filters before the dossiers do not reach the ministers.

The Chief Minister also instructed ministers not to use pilot vehicles and honk horns or run red lights while on the move. No minister, even if traveling from districts to Kolkata, should use pilot vehicles, horns or red beacons so as not to pick up people’s annoyance, the chief minister said, asking ministers and representatives of the people to maintain a humble image.

Banerjee recently sacked a number of senior leaders, including imprisoned leader and former number two in his cabinet Partha Chatterjee, Paresh Adhikari and reduced the responsibilities of many other senior ministers like Firhad Hakim and Jyotipriya Mullick. She inducted less controversial new faces like Partha Bhowmick, Babul Supriya, Birbaha Soren and others.

The Chief Minister also asked Cabinet Ministers to distribute responsibilities among their deputies and monitor their performance. Asking his Chief Minister and North 24 Parganas District Chairman, JP Mullick, to “travel less and perform better”, Banerjee said ministers should focus strictly on their jobs.

Banerjee’s advice to his ministers went hand in hand with a parallel development where Partha Chatterjee, during his appearance before a designated court, said that “no one will be spared”, adding that “the truth will come out and everything will be proven in time “. His comment when no questions were thrown at him by the media.

His comment is also seen as a follow-up to an earlier comment made over a fortnight ago when he told the media he was the victim of a conspiracy. “I’m the victim of a conspiracy…things will come out in time,” he said at the time.

Incidentally, according to the Law Enforcement Directorate officials, Chatterjee had denied ownership of Rs 50 crore and many other crores of jewelry recovered from the apartments of his close associate Arpita Mukherjee. Mukherjee also denied the money saying that strangers regularly came to his apartment and put the bags in particular rooms.

Chatterjee, who appeared in court on Thursday at the end of his 10-day pretrial detention, was again remanded to another 10-day custody by the court.

While in court, the former Minister for Education, Industry and Parliamentary Affairs prayed before the judge with folded hands to grant him bail, the lawyers said that in making his statement, his voice was suddenly shaking, he apparently made these comments to the media.

The former minister considered closest to the chief minister except for Mukul Roy had also served as the state’s opposition leader during the Left Front.

Sources said Chatterjee was angry with the chief minister for not backing him and sparing him a word of support during a public meeting in Behala, the jailed minister’s constituency.

The chief minister had not uttered a word for him but strongly backed Mondal saying he was a victim of the BJP government as he was a capable party man who had banned the saffron outfit from Birbhum and others parts of the state.

Mondal, accused of smuggling cattle, had also been named in cases of smuggling sand, stone and coal. In the same case, the ED also questioned the nephew of the chief minister and national general secretary of the party, Abhishek Banerjee. Critics believe Banerjee had no choice but to side with Mondal as he too is named in the coal scam and needs to be stopped from opening his mouth.