Pulls and Pressures Put Back PM, President Meet

Following rivaling demands of more ministries and plum portfolios from DMK and TC, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has put off a meeting with President Pratibha Patil.

With just one day to go before a new government is sworn-in, Congress negotiators led by senior leader Pranab Mukherjee are grappling with the issue.

The meeting scheduled between Singh and the President on installation of government was put off because the list of the Council of Ministers was yet to be given final touches.

According to sources, Mukherjee is likely to get Finance portfolio while P Chidambaram and A K Antony are expected to retain Home and Defence respectively.

In addition, Kapil Sibal may be given Human Resource Development ministry replacing Arjun Singh, who is likely to be accommodated in a gubernatorial post.

Salman Khurshid is likely to get Minority Affairs ministry, held by A R Antulay, who was defeated in the elections.

However, a rivalry is reportedly on between TC and DMK for the Railway Ministry, held by RJD chief Lalu Prasad who is unlikely to find a berth in Manmohan Singh’s second innings.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is eyeing the Railway portfolio as also the DMK.

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