Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has described the alliance between the Congress and the Trinamool Congress as “timely” and said the leader (Mamata Banerjee) of the largest partner (the Trinamool Congress) would be the chief ministerial candidate of any such alliance.

Mr. Mukherjee, who is also president of the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee, was speaking at the concluding session of the Congress’s ‘chintan shibir’ at Krishnagar in West Bengal’s Nadia district.

His remarks come in the wake of a string of success achieved by the Trinamool-Congress combine in the recent by-elections in the State.

“The leader of the largest partner becomes the Chief Minister. This is nothing new,” Mr. Mukherjee said, referring to the question of who would lead the government if the Trinamool Congress-Congress alliance came to power in the next Assembly elections scheduled for 2011.

There was a need to rise above narrow political considerations to keep the alliance alive, Mr. Mukherjee said. “We have to try to get the best out of the alliance,” he said, in an oblique reference to the misgivings expressed about the alliance by a section of the Congress leadership in the State.