TMC supremo takes oath as West Bengal CM, appeals for peace

Mamata Banerjee

Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee was sworn in as West Bengal chief minister for the third straight term today after she spearheaded her party to a remarkable victory in the assembly polls. Mamata Banerjee, in her trademark white Sari and shawl, took oath in Bengali. Banerjee said her first priority would be to tackle Covid and also appealed to people to maintain peace.

Moments after swearing-in Mamata Banerjee for her third straight term, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said, “Our priority is that we must bring an end to this senseless violence that has affected society at large. I have every hope that the CM on an urgent basis will take all steps to restore rule of law.”

The ceremony was a low-key programme given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, officials said. Invitations for the programme were sent to her predecessor Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, leader of Opposition of the outgoing House Abdul Mannan, and CPI(M) veteran leader Biman Bose, the official said on Tuesday.

Since the election verdict on Sunday, there have been clashes in parts of Bengal involving both the Trinamool Congress and the BJP. Both parties have traded blame for the violence.

Mamata Banerjee had, moments before the Governor’s comments, said her first priority would be to tackle the Covid crisis and she would start off with a meeting with her top officers.

Next on her agenda, she said, was to handle the law and order situation. She has accused the BJP of stirring violence and communal tension after losing the election. On the other hand, the BJP’s top leaders allege that Trinamool Congress workers have murdered its members and set their homes on fire.

“I appeal to all political parties to maintain peace. Bengal does not like violence. Please take proper care that there is no violence,” the Chief Minister said before handing the mic to the Governor, whom she has often accused of openly taking the BJP’s side and targeting her government.

“I will tackle law and order from today. That is my second job – to post people in law and order,” she said.

When the violence started on Sunday, Ms Banerjee had said the Election Commission was still in charge of law and order in the state and she would take over only after her oath.

She received a reminder moments after the ceremony.

“I congratulate Mamata Banerjee for her third term. It is not usual for anyone to win three terms. I hope governance will be according to the constitution and the rule of law. We are in a very difficult crisis,”  Mr Dhankhar said.

Yesterday, the Governor said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken to him and had expressed concern about the “deteriorating law and order” situation.

CommentsMs Banerjee, in an interview to NDTV, said there was “sporadic violence” that happens after any state election, and accused the BJP of inciting clashes in areas where it won. “It is their baby. They have spoiled the situation. Some sporadic incidents are there, but that will be tackled. After election it happens in every state. I don’t want any violence or anything. BJP is trying to create communal clash, because of their shameful defeat,” she said.

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