West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress patriarch Mamata Banerjee on Thursday will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi to discuss over the Presidential elections and a debt bailout package for cash-starved West Bengal.
During the meeting, Mamata is expected to support the UPA candidate for the Presidential elections, but according to sources her decision may hugely depend on how the government reacts to her demand for a three-year moratorium for West Bengal on payment of loan interest.
Mamata had earlier given a 15-day deadline to the UPA government to accept her demands which will end on 6 May. She and her party leaders have been maintaining that the previous Left government's "misgovernance" for over three decades in West Bengal has incurred a debt burden of Rs 200,000 crore to the state.
Last week, the Prime Minister assured that the Center would do everything within "the realms of possibility and constitutional limitations" to bail out the debt-ridden state, when a delegation of Trinamool MPs demanded a debt relief scheme for the state.
But the Congress-led UPA government is worried about granting a debt relief for the Mamata government, as they believe that it would send a cue to other state leaders as well, including Bihar which has already demanded a financial bailout package.
The party is carefully handling the Mamata's financial demands as they try hard to secure her support for the Presidential polls. Mamata is also likely to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi either on Thursday or Friday to discuss on the Presidential candidate.
However, Mamata has reportedly opposed former President APJ Abdul Kalam's candidature for Presidential post. According to sources she may support Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee or Vice-President Hamid Ansari for the post.
With the current President Pratibha Patil's term ending this July, Congress is leaving no stone unturned to make sure its favourite gets the top post. The party has been holding series of meetings with its allies and like-minded parties to garner support for its candidates.
Besides these issues, Mamata is also expected to discuss the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) Act and Teesta River Water sharing deal with the concerned ministers.