Didi prefers small cabinet, may retain key posts

Didi prefers small cabinet, may retain key posts

Even as Banerjee left for New Delhi to discuss the sharing of power with the Congress high command namely prime minister Dr Manmohan singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, a four-member Trinamool Congress delegation met Governor M K Narayanan at Raj Bhavan on Sunday evening and submitted a list of 184 party MLAs staking claim to form the government.

“We met the Governor and formally staked claim to form the government,”party MP Sultan Ahmed, who was part of the delegation, told newsmen at the Raj Bhavan. Ahmed apart, newly-elected deputy leader of TMC Legislature Party Partha Chatterjee, and senior leaders Subrata Mukherjee and Mukul Roy met the Governor.  Chatterjee said that the resolution passed by the legislators electing Mamata Banerjee unanimously as the Legislature Party leader was submitted to the governor along with a list containing signatures of 184 MLAs. Trinamool ally,the Congress has already given a letter of support to the party.

However, it is learnt that SUCI which is also in alliance with the TMC, has refused to share power on the plea that it would be part of a ministry where Congress is present.
 According to Mamata aides, the size of the ministry will not be big as the party supremo is against a top-heavy cabinet.

Sources said she would like to retain some key portfolios with her so that she can personally monitor their progress.  Amit Mitra, the FICCI secretary general, is being tipped to take over the crucial finance department health of which is quite abysmal while Partha Chatterjee, a Mamata confidante, is likely to be given a `very crucial portfolio'.
Abhijit Mukherjee, son of union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, may also get a cabinet berth once the high command gives its seal of approval for power sharing with its poll ally Trinamool.

Apart from discussing the issue of government formation with the prime minister and Sonia Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee is likely to formally extend an invitation to both of them for being present in the swearing-in ceremony, the date of which has not yet been announced. The newly-elected TMC legislators who met at the Maharashtra Nivas Hall here, also chose Partha Chatterjee, leader of the opposition in the outgoing Assembly, as the deputy leader of the legislature party and Sovandeb Chattopadhyay the chief whip. Banerjee who is slated to fly to New Delhi on Sunday evening, announced that the party will hold a victory rally on July 21 at the historic Brigade Parade ground. On her arrival at the capital, she is expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and extend them her invitation for the swearing-in ceremony of the first ‘non-Left Government’ in Kolkata.

Earlier, Mukherjee said Shakeel Ahmed, Congress general secretary in-charge of Bengal, has been entrusted with the task of talking to the legislators individually to ascertain their views on joining Banerjee’s government.

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