As of Thursday evening, final touches were being given to the preparations for the swearing-in of West Bengal’s first woman chief minister Mamata Banerjee, at the Raj Bhavan in Kolkata on Friday.
The swearing in, at a ceremony in the presence of 3200 invitees drawn from among the top names in politics, business and art and culture, was scheduled to take place at 1:01 pm as per the wishes of the Trinamool supremo. Banerjee, who will be the eleventh chief minister of the state, was to be administered the oath of office and secrecy by governor M K Narayanan on the southwest lawn of the 208 year old Raj Bhavan, where shamianas have been erected. Narayanan has already appointed Banerjee as chief minister. Banerjee will head the first non Left government to take charge of West Bengal, 34 years after a nine party Left Front government had come to power, led by Jyoti Basu in 1977.
Trinamool Congress and allies Congress and SUCI stormed to power in the state with a three-fourths majority, signalling the historic changeover in the state’s politics. Congress, which secured 42 seats, is likely to join the Mamata Banerjee government.
The huge guest list included outgoing chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who has been invited along with wife Meera by Deputy leader of the Trinamool Congress Legislature Party Partha Chatterjee, who personally went to their Palm Avenue residence, the first visit by any Trinamool leader there, since the party came into existence in 1998.