Congress to decide post-polls on joining Bengal government: Pranab | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Congress to decide post-polls on joining Bengal government: Pranab

kolkata Updated: Apr 13, 2011 15:50 IST

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Vowing to support the Trinamool Congress, union finance minister and Congress stalwart Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said the issue of joining the government in West Bengal would be decided only if the alliance is voted to power in the April-May assembly polls.

"We will think of crossing the bridge once we reach the river. So let's first reach the bridge, then we will think of crossing it," Mukherjee said when asked whether the Congress would join the government if the alliance wins and how many ministerial berths if would ask for.

"Congress is yet to decide whether to join the government. There are two aspects - one is to join the government and the other is to support it. We will support the government, we will be with the Trinamool Congress so far as seat adjustment is concerned," Mukherjee said while releasing the Congress manifesto for the elections at the party's state headquarters.

"But regarding joining the coalition government in each state on each occasion, the Congress leadership will take the decision at the point of time," he added.

The Trinamool and the Congress are fighting the crucial assembly polls as an alliance.

The Trinamool is contesting 226 of the 294 assembly seats and the Congress 65. The other small partners such as Socialist Unity Centre of India-Communist (SUCI-C) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will fight in 2 and 1 seats respectively.

Asked what he feels about Mamata Banerjee's wish of reviving the Vidhan Parishad (upper house) in the state, Mukherjee said: "According to constitutional norms if any state government wants to create a Vidhan Parishad then the state government has to bring a proposal in the Vidhan Sabha. The proposal, after being passed there, goes to central government. And if the central government agrees to that proposal then they will bring a bill in the parliament and after the bill is passed the state government can form the Vidhan Parishad."

Earlier, West Bengal had both Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Parishad, but the upper house was abolished in 1969.

The Trinamool Congress is the second largest partner of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the center with 19 MPs, with party chief Mamata Banerjee holding the key railway portfolio.

Voting for the West Bengal assembly will be held in six phases from April 18 to May 10. The results will be declared May 13.