New Delhi, Jun 23: With Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee resigning as Finance Minister on June 26, speculation is rife in Congress over a possible cabinet reshuffle to accommodate representatives from West Bengal.
Congress has six Lok Sabha members from West Bengal while its ally Trinamool 19. The state sends 42 members to the Lok Sabha. Pradip Bhattacharya, the WPCC chief, is the lone Rajya Sabha MP of Congress from the state. Mukherjee was the only minister of Congress from West Bengal in the Cabinet.
An AICC leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was “natural” that one or more MPs from West Bengal Congress are inducted into the Union Cabinet. Names that are doing round for induction are WBPCC chief Bhattacharya, party MPs Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Deepa Dasmunshi and Mausam Noor.
Mausm Noor, is considered close to Rahul Gandhi, while Adhir is known as a Mamata-baiter in Congress. Deepa Dashmunsi is the wife of Congress veteran Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi. Sources in AICC say that with Mukherjee, representing Jangipur in Murshidabad district, set to become President, the effort is likely to be on representing other regions from the state, more so those regions, which are Congress strongholds.
Congress' future relationship with Trinamool Congress will determine who will be the next PCC chief of West Bengal in case Bhattacharya joins the Union Cabinet, the sources said.
If Congress-Trinamool ties are back to normal after the President's election, Congress is likely to nominate as the next PCC chief somebody who does not have a strident anti-Mamata approach. This rules out the chances of Deepa Dasmunshi and Adhir.
In that eventuality, the former PCC chief Manas Bhuniya, a close associate of Mukherjee, could again be given the mantle.