Governance comes first, party second – chief minister Mamata Banerjee has started enforcing this credo, asking her ministers, most of whom are top party portfolio holders to keep workers and leaders at bay and concentrate on development.
Party leaders have been told not to indulge into any organisation related activity in the Writers' Buildings, or other government offices. All party related work should be done only after office hours. While on district tours ministers would try to avoid visiting party offices, that has been labelled as the least priority by the leader.
It is a U-turn from the Left regime when the party was given precedence over governance, a feature for which Mamata, as an opposition leader, was severely critical of the CPI(M).
"For us now the priority is development and good governance. Our leader has asked us to rise over narrow interests of the party," said Partha Chatterjee state industries minister and secretary general of Trinamool Congress.
It is a credo that Mamata has decided to enforce by example. She spends long hours in office, often till 10 in the night, and spares a few late night hours to party work.
"What she told us, I am implementing in my own way. My department and its initiatives come first. I complete my constituency work from 8am to 10am before coming to Writers’ Buildings," said labour minister Purnendu Bose.
"Mamata has asked us not to show any special favours to Trinamool workers," said Bose.
"She has clearly said people have great expectations from us and that is our priority. I have told party leaders and workers not to throng at my office," said Shankar Chakraborty, jail minister.
What prompted Mamata's diktat was a rush of Trinamool workers to meet the leaders, most of whom became ministers. The corridors of the state secretariat and the space outside ministers' chambers was full of Trinamool leaders and workers seeking favours.
Mamata asked her party leaders not to flock to the corridors of power.
Trinamool Congress has a special problem. Almost all its top leaders have assumed ministerial responsibilities. Mamata Banerjee is the chairperson of the party, Subrata Bakshi, the party state president is the transport and PWD minister.
Party vice-president Subrata Mukherjee is in charge of public health engineering department, whereas food minister Jyotipriyo Mullick is the observer for crucial North 24 parganas district. Purnendu Bose, labour minister, is also heading the party land agitation committees.
But the chief minister's diktat is simple, and blanket – no party work should be entertained during the time the minister is at work.