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Rajiv Banerjee removed from council of ministers; TMC expels Bally MLA Vaishali Dalmiya

Kolkata: Rajib Banerjee has been removed from the council of ministers following a recommendation of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as he tendered his resignation from the post of the state Forest minister on Friday.

The Chief Minister advised Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar that "the state Forest minister Rajib Banerjee be removed at once from the council of ministers". Subsequently, the Governor accepted the advice, which ceases him to be a member of the council of ministers with immediate effect.

With Rajib's resignation from the post of the state Forest minister, the charge of the state Forest department would rest with the Chief Minister, Dhankhar tweeted.

According to Nabanna sources, he has been removed from the council of ministers, as there was "procedural lapses" in his resignation letter, unlike the cases of Suvendu Adhikari and Laxmi Ratan Shukla when their resignation letters were received and forwarded to the Governor to accept the same.

With Nabanna remaining closed on Friday for sanitisation, Rajib went to the Chief Minister's office at her Kalighat residence and handed over his resignation letter to one of her assistants. Then he went to the Raj Bhavan where he met Dhankhar after submitting a copy of his resignation letter.

Outside Raj Bhavan, Rajib said: "I will always be grateful to the Chief Minister till the last breath of my life for giving me the opportunity to be a member of her Cabinet."

Stating that his resignation was well anticipated with "his repeated anti-party statements" both in public and on social media despite repeated attempts by senior party leaders to woo him, Trinamool Congress leaderships is considering that his resignation would "not tantamount to any loss" to the ruling party in the state.

The disciplinary body of the TMC on Friday expelled its MLA from Bally Assembly constituency Vaishali Dalmiya for her anti-party statements. She had been making anti-party comments since the day Shukla tendered resignation from the post of minister of state. Party MP Saugata Roy said: "The disciplinary committee of the party has taken the step against Dalmiya after noticing her actions in different media in the past few weeks."

Reacting sharply, Partha Chatterjee, the TMC secretary general, said: "It is really funny that the BJP's old guards are not visiting the areas and they have been replaced by those whom Trinamool had rejected." Without naming Rajib Banerjee, he said such a decision is uncalled for. "Trinamool is like an ocean and lifting some water from it will not affect the party."

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