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Mamata Chief Minister of West Bengal; After 34 years, swearing in the name of god

Friday May 20, 2011 03:54:02 PM, IANS

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Mamata tsunami sweeps away 34 years of Left rule in Bengal

Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee was Friday sworn in as West Bengal's first woman chief minister, ending 34 years of uninterrupted Left rule in the state.

More than 3,000 invited guests watched as a beaming Banerjee, clad in her trademark white sari and rubber slippers, was administered the oath of office by Governor M.K. Narayanan at the Raj Bhavan here.

The Trinamool Congress chief, 56, who becomes the eighth chief minister of the state, took her oath in Bengali.

Amongst those present to witness the historic occasion were union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, former state chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Left Front chairman Biman Bose and other top leaders of the opposition combine.

Crowds lined both sides of the road as her convoy set out from her Kalighat residence in south Kolkata to the Raj Bhavan seven kilometres away. Frenzied slogans like "Mamata Banerjee zindabad" could be heard.

Banerjee's Trinamool Congress and Congress alliance won 227 seats in the 294-member house.


'In the name of god'

In the first sign of change in West Bengal, most ministers in the new Trinamool Congress-led government Friday took oath of office in the name of god - quite unlike the Marxist ministers who would swear allegiance to the constitution.

The Left Front, which ruled the state uninterruptedly from 1977, was led by the communists, who are atheists by political belief. The communist leaders would "solemnly" affirm their allegiance to the constitution.

In contrast, most Trinamool Congress and Congress leaders, who took oath of office Friday, used the expression "do swear in the name of god".

Purnendu Bose, a Trinamool legislator, was a rare exception as he simply said "solemnly affirm".

Banerjee struck other different notes as well. While her predecessors of the Left Front era chose to go in a car from Raj Bhavan to the state secretariat, Writers' Building, about two kilometres away, the state's first woman chief minister walked the distance amid the swirling crowds after the swearing-in.

And though, Banerjee, 56, is not one to be formally dressed, she imposed a dress code on ministers -- the men were asked to take oath in dhoti and kurta and the women in saris.






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