Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee was on Sunday was formally elected as the Trinamool Congress Legislature Party leader and confirmed that pre-poll ally Congress would be part of her ‘small’ ministry.

Two days after her party stormed to power with three- fourths majority, ending 34 years of Left Front rule in West Bengal, the name of 56-year-old Banerjee as TCLP leader was proposed by Subrata Bakshi.

The formality of her election was completed at Maharashtra Niwas hall in south Kolkata where all the 184 newly-elected Trinamool Congress MLAs were present.

Addressing the meeting, Banerjee said she was happy that the Congress had submitted a letter of support to a Trinamool Congress-led ministry to Governor M K Narayanan.

SUCI, which won one seat, has been requested to join the ministry, she said. “SUCI has said it will let us know,” she said.

Partha Chatterjee was elected deputy leader and Sobhandev Chattopadhyay Chief Whip. Jyotipriya Mullick was elected as Treasurer.

Railway Minister Banerjee, who is a member of Lok Sabha from a Kolkata constituency, will have to get herself elected to the state Assembly within six months. She is likely to contest from a constituency in south Kolkata, TC sources said.

High command to decide on joining: Pranab

A final decision on Congress joining the new government in West Bengal at the invitation of ally Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, will be taken by the party high command, senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee said on Sunday.

"We will take a final decision after discussions with the Congress High Command. The decision will be disclosed at the appropriate time," Mukherjee said.

He, however, said the Congress would extend all support to the new government.
"I congratulate Mamata Banerjee for this fantastic win. It is a very big achievement to defeat CPI(M) within just 13 years of forming her party. It is her victory," the Union Finance Minister said.

On the Congress accepting 65 seats offered to it by Banerjee which had led to resentment in a section of the party, Mukherjee said he had accepted the offer considering the ground realities.

The Congress this time achieved the best result in the recent past in West Bengal, winning 42 out of 65 seats it fought.

"I am very happy that after a long time, Congress will be able to send a member to the Rajya Sabha from West Bengal on its own strength," he said.

Asked about his son Abhijit Mukherjee winning from Nalhati which had been a Left bastion, Mukherjee said, "My son fought the elections as just another Congress candidate. I gave him the same time as I did to others."

Pranab requests WB Governor

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday met West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan and requested him to ensure peace in the state after declaration of the Assembly election results.

"The state is going through a difficult position after the results have been announced. I requested the Governor to play his constitutional role and ensure peace in the state," Mukherjee said at the Congress state headquarters here during a meeting with the newly elected Congress MLAs.

Mukherjee also requested police and administrative heads to play a 'totally neutral role' in upholding law and order in the state.

With the Left Front having lost after 34 years of rule, outgoing Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has tendered his resignation and the new dispensation led by Mamata Banerjee is likely to take oath next week.

Some political clashes have been reported from some parts of the state.

JPN/Agencies