TMC MP wonders why colleague not made Bengal sports min
Trinamool Congress MP Prasun Banerjee

Kolkata: Trinamool Congress MP Prasun Banerjee has triggered a controversy by expressing surprise on why party colleague and Kamarhati MLA Madan Mitra was not considered for the Sports portfolio in recent reshuffles in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet.

Mitra had been the Sports and Youth Affairs and Transport Minister from 2011 to 2015 before being remanded to jail in connection with a chit fund scam.

In a video, which went viral on social media, Banerjee, a former Indian football team captain and Howrah MP, was saying at a public meeting on Saturday that Mitra had been the “best sports minister”.

“I don’t mind if my comments make anyone upset. To my knowledge, Madan Mitra was the best sports minister in the state cabinet. No idea why he had been overlooked in recent reshuffles despite being elected with people’s mandate,” the footballer-turned-politician said.

Mitra, who was also present at the venue in his Kamarhati constituency, looked embarrassed but folded hands as the audience clapped.

Reacting to Banerjee’s comments, TMC Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen said who will be included in the cabinet is the prerogative of the chief minister.

“Let me say unequivocally, the CM has the authority to decide about the cabinet and portfolios in the best interest of the state,” he said.

BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar said the MP’s comments point to an increasing rift within the TMC.

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