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Congress to decide soon on joining Mamata ministry

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 - 21:21

New Delhi: With Mamata Banerjee wanting it to
join the Trinamool Congress-led government in West Bengal,
Congress is likely to take a decision on the matter shortly.

The Congress Legislature Party, which has 42 newly-elected
MLAs, would meet in Kolkata tomorrow to discuss the issue.

The meeting is likely to be attended by top central party
leaders, including senior leader Shakeel Ahmed who is
in-charge of the party affairs in the state, WBPCC chief Manas
Bhuiyan said.
Asked whether the party had any hesitation in joining the
government, he said, "There is no hesitation at all. ... We
will await directions (from the party high command). We have
already expressed our total support to the Trinamool Congress

"We will get to know whatever is to be decided (on joining
the ministry). Wait for a day or two," Bhuiyan said, parrying
questions on how many berths or who among the Congress MLAs
were likely to be inducted.

Banerjee is slated to be sworn in as Chief Minister on
Friday and speculation is rife that a 30-member ministry might
be in place in which the Congress could get two to three
ministerial berths.

Fresh from the victory in the elections to the 294-member
Assembly, Banerjee had a series of meetings with Finance
Minister Pranab Mukherjee and other Congress leaders during
which she requested Congress to join the new ministry.
Bhuiyan, who met Congress President Sonia Gandhi here
today, is likely to meet party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi
soon. He said he had briefed the Congress chief on the
post-poll scenario and "will await her directions" on the
future course of action, including government formation.

He also claimed that his party would have won "at least 80
seats had we got 92 that we had sought from Trinamool Congress
during seat-sharing talks."

Asked whether Congress would support Trinamool`s demands
for withdrawal of central security forces, halt to anti-Maoist
operations and release of "political prisoners", Bhuiyan just
said, "Let the government be formed..... It is an
administrative matter."

Appealing for an end to the spate of post-poll violence in
the state, the Congress leader said, "There has to be
political space for the Opposition (Left parties). Violence
must be stopped. These are sensitive times. No party wants
this violence to continue."

He demanded that combing operations be continued in the
state to recover illegal weapons.

The WBPCC chief said the main thrust of the new government
should be to restore the state`s financial health as it had
become "bankrupt".


First Published: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 - 21:21
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