New Delhi: Even as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee arrived in the capital on Monday to seek a financial package for the state amidst discussions with Finance Minister Pranab Mukheerjee, all eyes are set on Didi’s final call on the Railway portfolio.

The CM’s three-day visit will end the suspense over the fact who will call the final shots as regards the post of Railway Minister: Didi or Congress?

However, the Congress is treading cautiously on the issue as it does not want to ruin its relation with Trinamool Congress. The party conveyed to the CM that the Railway portfolio is crucial and only a Cabinet-ranked Minister should hold the Ministry. Albeit it is more than likely that it will be Didi who will be calling the shots in the end.

Wary of creating a parallel power centre in her party, Mamata is reluctant to appoint anyone from the TMC as a Cabinet Minister holding the Railway Portfolio. Rather she would like to have Mukul Roy, one of her closest aides, as the Minister of State for Railways with Independent Charge. On its part, the senior UPA partner Congress would like to wrest the ministry from the TMC.

Contemplating over Mamata’s proposal, the Congress has started emphasizing on the need to appoint only a Cabinet-ranked Minister to the post of Railway Minister. The party in fact, has tried to coax Banerjee to give up the portfolio in lieu of some other Ministry.

Other than this, she has also been offered the option of retaining the Ministry by appointing a TMC candidate to the rank of Cabinet Minister.

According to sources, it is unlikely that Mamata Banerjee will accept any of the conditions offered by the Congress. Refuting the condition that a Cabinet ranked Minister should hold the portfolio, Trinamool Congress said, “Madhavrao Scindia was also the Minister of State for Railways with Independent Charge.”

Banerjee is slated to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday.

JPN/Bureau