New Delhi: West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra on Monday met Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to seek a financial package for the state. It is believed that the outcome of the talks could also seal Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s Presidential poll chances.
After the meeting, Mitra said talks would continue.
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is believed to be opposing Mukherjee’s candidature, more so because the latter has expressed his inability to allocate a special financial package to West Bengal, like any other state.
Mamata is reported to have tied her party’s support for Mukherjee’s candidature to a central financial package.
Mukherjee had to, yesterday, cut short his West Bengal stay and return to the capital ahead for today’s talks.
The Finance Minister says rules don’t allow him to provide special treatment to any state; also the current economic situation has left little cash to spare.
However, the TMC chief has refused to accept the Centre’s view, pressurising it to clear the financial package if it aims to seek support for Mukherjee`s candidature.
The Congress, meanwhile, urged Mamata yesterday to support Mukherjee for Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Congress leader and minister in West Bengal Manas Bhuniya said, "I would like to appeal to the top leader of the Trinamool Congress that she support Pranab babu if he is made the candidate for the President post by our party High Command."
Also yesterday, UPA`s key ally NCP said it would back the ruling alliance`s Presidential nominee even as a senior Union Minister said the Congress leadership will build "maximum" consensus among the coalition partners.
There is speculation that the Congress leadership has discussed Mukherjee`s name with its allies such as DMK, RLD and NCP and that he appeared to be having the support of all of them.
"NCP would back the UPA candidate...The final decision would be taken by Sharad Pawar on this," said Baramati MP and the NCP supremo`s daughter Supriya Sule in Mumbai.
When asked by reporters about the possible candidature of Mukherjee, Sule said, "He is a very senior leader...I am not eligible to comment on him."
The principal opposition party BJP said it would disclose its strategy on the Presidential Elections only after the ruling UPA coalition announces its candidate.