West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has taken charge of the state’s minority affairs department ahead of the panchayat elections in West Bengal. Tajmul Hossain has been named the minister of state for minority affairs to assist Banerjee.
The move on Monday came days after the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) lost the Sagardighi assembly by-poll to the Congress-Left alliance. Sagardighi has over 60% Muslim population and has been a TMC stronghold.
State law minister Maloy Ghatak said the state Cabinet also on Monday gave its nod to the formation of a Minority Development Board.
Muslims accounted for Bengal’s 27.01% population as per the 2011 census.
The TMC’s defeat in the bypoll is seen as a sign of the erosion of its Muslim base. On March 6, Banerjee formed a committee of Muslim legislators and ministers to look into the causes of the defeat.
The panchayat polls are likely to be held in the state in the next few months a year before the 2024 national polls.