Set to take over as Chief Minister of West Bengal on Friday, Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee today indicated that Congress will join her government in the state.
On her first visit to Delhi after a landslide win in the assembly polls on May 13, the 56-year-old leader met Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and invited them to attend the swearing-in ceremony of her ministry in Kolkata on May 20.
Emerging from the meetings, Banerjee said she had invited Congress to be part of the Trinamool-led government in Bengal. Asked whether whether Congress had agreed, she said, "Congress will be part of the government. I have invited them and they will let me know."
The Railway Minister also dropped enough hints that her portfolio in the Central government would be retained by her party.
"I told him (the Prime Minister) that Railway is with Trinamool and the Prime Minister is a good man. There is no problem," said Banerjee, who will be quitting as Railway Minister on May 19. Earlier, after meeting Gandhi, she said that it was for the Prime Minister to take a call on the issue of her replacement in the Union Cabinet.
Asked whether her party General Secretary Mukul Roy could be a possible replacement as he had accompanied her to Gandhi's residence, she said he had come as he was available in the city.
"He (Roy) did not attend my meeting with Gandhi. He was outside. He is here because we will have to give details of election (expenditure) to the Election Commission," she said.
She refused to comment when queried whether she was seeking more cabinet berths for her party at the Centre. Banerjee said while Sonia Gandhi said she will let her know whether she will attend the oath-taking ceremony, the Prime Minister informed her that he will not be able to come because of a scheduled foreign tour.
Singh will visit Kolkata after coming back from the trip, Banerjee said adding, "He assured me all help for Bengal. He said whatever help is required he will extend it." Asked why the oath-taking ceremony will take place on May 20, she said, "it is a Friday and a very auspicious day".