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Buddha isn?t smiling

After three days of tedious deliberations, the CPI(M) came out with its list of 44 ministers, including 17 new faces, who will be part of the seventh Left Front government that will be sworn in on Thursday at Raj Bhavan.

india Updated: May 18, 2006 02:24 IST

After three days of tedious deliberations, the CPI(M) came out with its list of 44 ministers, including 17 new faces, who will be part of the seventh Left Front government  that will be sworn in on Thursday at Raj Bhavan.

It wasn't an easy task for the party’s state secretariat as it tried to accommodate the various candidates of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Jyoti Basu and the district satraps. In the end, none looked happy. The Front leaders emerged from a meeting, which formally ratified the choice of ministers, their faces grim. The chief minister didn't speak to the media while Front chairman Biman Bose merely rattled off the list of ministers without going into the choice.

Clearly, Brand Buddha didn't play much of a role in the selection of ministers. Buddhadeb wanted to keep Subhash Chakraborty out of the transport department, but Jyoti Basu stepped in. Buddha had planned a large-scale downsizing of the transport corporations but Subhash would have none of it.

Buddha's decision to take away the development and planning department from Nirupam Sen has rubbed the party's powerful Burdwan lobby the wrong way. This crucial decision was the outcome of the Burdwan lobby's insistence that finance minister Ashim Dasgupta be transferred to the education department and Nirupam be made the deputy chief minister.

The number two man in the last cabinet, Nirupam Sen, was denied the development and planning department this time. Buddhadeb kept the department with him. He also kept home, information and culture.