Senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee will hold discussions with party leaders in West Bengal before AICC takes a decision on joining the Mamata Banerjee-led government in the state.
Mukherjee and Shakeel Ahmad, incharge of party affairs in West Bengal, left for Kolkata this evening to ascertain the views of state unit leaders and newly elected legislators on sharing power with Banerjee.
"No decision has been taken. We will talk to the MLAs and state leaders and give feed back to the central leadership which will take a final decision," Ahmad said before leaving for Kolkata. He said a formal meeting of the Congress Legislature Party will be held in a day or two. After the spectacular win of the Trinamool Congress-led alliance in the West Bengal assembly election, Banerjee had invited allies Congress and SUCI to be part of the government.
Trinamool Congress won 184 seats in the 294-member state assembly while allies Congress and SUCI were victorious in 42 and two constituencies respectively.
A meeting of the Trinamool Congress legislature party is scheduled to be held tomorrow to elect their leader. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi had held discussions last evening on the issue of sharing power with Trinamool. A section of party leaders is not in favour of participating in the government given the fact that Trinamool Congress has got majority on its own and therefore it will not be wise to be dragged into decisions taken by Banerjee.
However, another section of Congress feels it is "natural justice" that the party should take part in the state government because Trinamool is a component of Congress-led UPA at the Centre. Some Congress leaders are reluctant to speak up openly on the issue because the son of a senior leader is involved. The son has been elected a party MLA from the state. "We are committed to giving unconditional support to the government headed by Banerjee. But whether we will join the government or not will be decided after consultations with PCC leaders and newly-elected legislators," Ahmad said. A senior party leader, who declined to be identified, suggested that Congress' response in this regard would be cautious and would depend upon the mind of the Trinamool leader.