Kolkata: Railways Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee Wednesday brushed aside queries on Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's recent visit to West Bengal to strengthen his party, saying the young leader first needed to learn the nuances of politics.
"I don't want to say anything about his (Rahul Gandhi) visit to Bengal. Please don't ask me to say anything on him. Ask me about Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi or Sonia Gandhi, I will talk. I can comment on those people with whom I have worked in politics.
"But I want to say one thing. It's good that he is in politics. He has my blessings, but first let him cut his teeth in politics," Banerjee said in an interview to private Bengali news channel Star Ananda when asked about her reaction to Rahul Gandhi's recent visit to the state.
Gandhi was on a tour to West Bengal Sep 14-16 to boost the Youth Congress' membership drive in the state.
When asked whether she is trying to imply that Gandhi was a kid in politics, Banerjee said: "I am not saying any such thing. You are saying."
She added that every party had the right to strengthen its organisation. "That is ok".
Prior to Gandhi's September visit to the state, Banerjee - without naming him - had said: "I am not a seasonal Cuckoo which comes and goes."
Banerjee's comment had drawn sharp reactions in the Congress with most of its leaders condemning her.
The Congress and the Trinamool had forged an alliance in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls to decimate the ruling Left Front.
However, the two parties failed to clinch a seat sharing deal in the civic elections earlier this year, with the Congress leaders repeatedly complaining to the leadership that they were not been treated with dignity by Banerjee.
This prompted Gandhi to say "There can be no alliance without dignity. We will extend our hand but not bow our heads."
First Published: Thursday, November 04, 2010, 10:24