Mamata can be next chief minister of West Bengal: Pranab


New Delhi: After the Congress-Trinamool alliance’s body blow to West Bengal’s ruling Left in the hustings, Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday said that Trinamool Congress supreme Mamata Banerjee could be the next chief minister of the state.

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In an interview to NDTV news channel, Mukherjee, the West Bengal state Congress president, said it was possible that Banerjee would emerge as the next head of the state after the electoral rout of the Left after three decades.

“We (the Congress) have no problems with that (Banerjee as chief minister),” Pranab said, when asked what he thought of Banerjee becoming chief minister.

Asked if she would make a good head of government given her “difficult” personality, Mukherjee said: “I don’t want to make judgments. But after all, position brings responsibility.”

“I don’t think she is anti-industrialisation,” he said when asked if Banerjee’s tough stance forcing the Tata Motors to move their car project from Singur and the Trinamool-led violent protests in Nandigram over a chemical hub would not send wrong signals to the industry.

“Singur and Nandigram became political issues. Mamata initiated lots of development projects when she was the railway minister,” Mukherjee said.

Mukherjee was instrumental in stitching the Congress-Trinamool alliance in West Bengal, which resulted in the Left parties winning just 15 of the 42 parliamentary seats.

The Trinamool Congress and the Congress won 26 between them. Of these, the Trinamool claimed 19 and the Congress seven.

Ever since the results, Banerjee has repeatedly been saying that the state assembly elections, due for 2011, should be advanced as the Lok Sabha poll results were a “no confidence vote” by the people in the state government.