Mamata invites but will Congress join her government?https://indianexpress.com/article/india/latest-news/mamata-invites-but-will-congress-join-her-government/

Mamata invites but will Congress join her government?

Sources in the party said there are different views among state leaders on the issue.

Mamata Banerjee,set to become West Bengal Chief Minister,today invited ally Congress to be part of her government as she met Congress President Sonia Gandhi here.

However,Congress President Sonia Gandhi is still about the offer and is understood to have held several meetings with senior party leaders on participation in the Bengal government.

Mamata,who reached Delhi last night,met Gandhi at her 10,Janpath residence where she was given a warm welcome.

She invited the Congress leader for the swearing-in ceremony of her Cabinet,likely to be held on Friday.

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“I have invited Soniaji for the oath ceremony. She will let me know,” Banerjee told reporters after the meeting.

To a question on whether Congress will be part of her ministry,she said,”Congress will be part of the government. I have invited them and they will let me know.”

Asked about her replacement in the Union Cabinet,she said it was for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take a call on the issue.

To a question whether her party General Secretary Mukul Roy could be a possible replacement,she said he came along with her to Gandhi’s residence as he was available in the city.

“He did not attend my meeting with Sonia Gandhi. He was outside. He is here because we will have to give details of election (expenditure) to the Election Commission,” she said.

Banerjee said she shared ties with the Gandhi family from the days of late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Earlier,Gandhi held talks with her political secretary Ahmed Patel and senior leader Shakeel Ahmed,who is in charge of party affairs for West Bengal on the issue of her party’s participation in the next Bengal government.

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 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 well as with 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 strenghten the party organization 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.

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

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