Mamata names expelled CPI-M leader Ritabrata as head of key tribal panel

Kolkata: Expelled CPI-M leader Ritrabrata Banerjee was on Friday appointed chairman of a tribal welfare committee by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Presiding over a meeting with tribal leaders across the state, the Chief Minister said Banerjee, now not attached to any party, would work as the chairman of the non-political tribal social welfare committee.

Ritabrata Banerjee, a Rajya Sabha member, was summarily expelled from the Communist Party of India-Marxist in September last year on the charge of serious breach of party discipline.

Happy over his appointment, he said he would give his best for the welfare of the tribals.

“(I feel) humbled to be a part in ‘didi’s (elder sister, as the Chief Minister is affectionately called) endeavour of transforming the state,” he said.

According to sources, the Chief Minister said two tribal community representatives from each of the districts would be included in the panel, whose members would interact through a Whatsapp group.

Later, in a Facebook post, she said she heard local development issues from the participants in the meeting.

“Under our community development initiative, it is indeed a pleasure to hear local development issues from these young men and women who have come from all over the state.

“Significant work has already been done in this regard and we are taking it forward in the days ahead with greater thrust,” she said.

Banerjee’s interaction with the tribal leaders came in the wake of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s good show in the recent Panchayat polls in the three tribal-dominated districts of West Midnapore, Jhargram and Purulia.

Since the results came out, the Chief Minister has axed two ministers from the tribal communities Churamani Mahato and James Kujur, and sacked a number of party functionaries from the region.

Senior ministers like Partha Chatterjee and Jyotipriyo Mallick have also been deputed to the tribal-majority Junglemahal region to gauge the resentment among the people regarding government schemes.