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Finance Ministry for Pranab, Railways for Mamata?

By Indrani Roy Mitra
May 20, 2009 22:53 IST
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Though Prime Minister Manmohan Singh refused to comment on the distribution of portfolios in the new United progressive Alliance government on Wednesday, speculations and reports about the allocation of ministerial berths have already started floating around in Delhi's power corridors.

According to reliable sources, Pranab Mukherjee, who was in charge of the prestigious External Affairs Ministry in the previous UPA government, might take over as the new finance minister.

Till now, Deputy Chairperson of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia was considered to be the front-runner for the post.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who has 19 Members of Parliament in her kitty, might bag the railway ministry, added the well-informed sources. She has previously served as the railway minister in the National Democratic Alliance government, before she severed her ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led combine.

Lalu Prasad Yadav, whose party Rashtriya Janata Dal has won only four seats in the Parliamentary polls, had held the coveted ministry earlier.

When questioned earlier on the issue of distribution of portfolios, Banerjee had stated that she would not bargain for any ministry and she only wanted the development of West Bengal.

However, sources indicated that the TC, which has the maximum number of MPs among UPA's pre-poll aliies, might get another ministerial berth and four minister of state positions as well.

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Indrani Roy Mitra