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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Kolkata, March 18, 2013
With the Lok Sabha elections ahead, the Trinamool Congress is eyeing a bigger role in Delhi. The party has started sending feelers to other regional parties in the hope for a non-BJP, non-Congress combine. Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee has already announced that she will retain the railway portfolio in the next government. Sources in the party said it was important for Banerjee to retain the portfolio after being deprived of financial help for the state.

Senior Trinamool leaders have initiated liaison with regional parties, including the Biju Janata Dal and the Janata Dal-United. The Congress, a senior leader said, is on its way out in the next Lok Sabha polls and the BJP, with its internal bickering, is also not in a position to gain absolute majority.

“We are keeping an equal distance from the Congress and the BJP. We hope to get good numbers in 2014 polls and will play a deciding role in the next government,” said Sultan Ahmed, Trinamool core committee leader.

“We are just testing the waters. Formal talks will happen after the panchayat polls and decisions would be taken on tie-ups,” said a senior party leader.