Kolkata: Senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Amit Mitra is likely to step down as West Bengal Finance Minister after serving for long ten years, since 2011 due to ill-health, sources in the party said.
Though Mitra, 74, did not contest the recently held Assembly elections, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee handed the Finance portfolio to Mitra, who has held the post since 2011, when the TMC first came to power in Bengal.
Since he is not an MLA, Mitra can remain in his post for a maximum of six months unless he contests — and wins — a byelection.
A senior Trinamool leader said on condition of anonymity, “Amit Mitra will complete six months as state finance minister in the third Mamata Banerjee cabinet on November 4. As he is a non-MLA minister, he will have to leave the post after six months or seek election through bypolls. However, he has informed the party that he does not want to continue as state minister post November 4 due to ill-health.”
Sources said Banerjee is likely to keep the Finance portfolio till she finds someone suitable to take charge as the next Finance Minister.
Mitra was not present for the vote-on-account (interim budget) in February and during the tabling of the state budget last week. Banerjee had presented the interim budget on his behalf in February while state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee tabled the budget last week.
A former FICCI secretary general, Mitra has been part of Banerjee’s decision-making team since 2009, when the TMC was part of UPA-2.
After the party came to power in West Bengal in 2011, Mitra was made Finance Minister. He is a two-time MLA from Khardah constituency in North 24 Parganas. Besides finance, Mitra had also held the industry portfolio since 2014.