Sonia discusses West Bengal with Congress leaders

Last Updated: Monday, May 16, 2011 - 14:03

New Delhi: Ahead of Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee`s meeting with her, Congress president Sonia Gandhi held consultations with senior colleagues on the issue of her party`s participation in the next West Bengal government.

Gandhi held talks with her political secretary Ahmed Patel and senior leader Shakeel Ahmed, who is in charge of party affairs for West Bengal.

The meeting came a day after Shakeel Ahmed and Pranab Mukherjee ascertained the views of newly-elected Congress MLAs in the state.

The Congress appears to be turning positive on the issue of joining the Mamata-led government in West Bengal.

Though Mamata`s party has gained majority on its own, she has invited the Congress and SUCI to join the government.

There is a talk in Congress that it might appoint an observer for holding talks with Trinamool to discuss modalities of government formation.

Gandhi could even attend the swearing-in ceremony in Kolkata. Banerjee has a good rapport with Gandhi as also Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

After the meeting with Gandhi, Ahmed told reporters that he has apprised her about the feelings of the newly-elected MLAs, party MPs and the PCC leaders over the issue and a final call will be taken by Gandhi.

Mamata is meeting Gandhi and the Prime Minister in the late afternoon after which a decision is likely to be taken.

Sources in the party, meanwhile, said there are different views among the state leaders on the issue. One section favours the Congress joining the government, saying it will help strengthen the party organisation in the state, where it was out of power for last 34 years.

Another believes that Congress should extend outside support to the government as with its limited numbers in the State Assembly, it will have little participation in the governance and will not be able to influence major policy decisions.

The section believes that the party should strive to make an independent identity for itself in West Bengal, a view which is not subscribed to by the section.

A party leader has cautioned against approaching the issue with "such a convoluted mind" and strongly advocated for Congress` participation in the government.

PTI



First Published: Monday, May 16, 2011 - 14:03

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