New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had
not spoken to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to
dissuade her from attending the swearing-in ceremony of Punjab
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
"Neither had the Prime Minister spoken to Mamata Banerjee
on this issue nor the Finance Minister," Minister of State for
Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla told reporters .
Shukla was reacting to reports that Banerjee decided to
abstain from the swearing-in ceremony of Badal after the Prime
Minister and the Finance Minister spoke to her on the issue.
Reports also had it that Mukherjee had assured Banerjee
that the Prime Minister will directly intervene to resolve the
economic package issue of West Bengal.
Banerjee, who had got invitations from both Akali Dal and
the Samajwadi Party to attend the swearing-in ceremonies of
Badal and Akhilesh Singh, has now decided to depute her party
leaders for both the programmes.
While Union Minister of State for Tourism Sultan Ahmed
has been asked to attend the swearing in of Akhilesh Yadav in
UP, state Tourism Minister Rachpal Singh will be going to
Congress had blown hot and cold close on the heels of
reports that Banerjee, whose party is the second largest
constituent of the UPA after Congress has agreed to attend
the swearing-in ceremonies of Badal and Yadav.
"Social interactions with strangers by those in
partnerships is permissible, but obviously if things go beyond
the normal boundaries of social courtesy, it would become
immoral," party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi had said.
Later he downplayed the remarks contending that these are
social courtesies which frequently happen in politics.
"I don`t understand why her going or not going should
make such news. These are social courtesies, which frequently
happen in politics. Her going or not going should not be read
as if pregnant with all kinds of meanings," he had said.