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Trinamool, Govt spat over missed calls and SMSes

Government and the Trinamool Congress got into a spat over missed calls and messages with Home Minister P Chidambaram insisting that efforts were made four days back by the Prime Minister to contact Mamata Banerjee.



Kolkata/New Delhi: Government and the Trinamool Congress on Wednesday got into a spat over missed calls and messages with Home Minister P Chidambaram insisting that efforts were made four days back by the Prime Minister to contact Mamata Banerjee but there was no response, evoking a sharp rebuttal from her.

As the political drama unfolded a day after Trinamool Congress decided to withdraw support to the UPA government, a war of words erupted with Banerjee breathing fire on the Congress and contesting Chidambaram`s version that efforts were made to contact her, but without success.

"I was never informed of the decisions on allowing FDI in retail. I will request Congress leaders not to distort facts. They must communicate reality. If they wanted to talk, why didn`t they talk?"," Banerjee told reporters in Kolkata.

In Delhi, Chidambaram said, "We have tried to speak to her four days ago. The Prime Minister tried to speak to her. We have left the message to her that she can speak. We have not heard anything."

His statement came after a meeting of the Congress Core Group during which the issue of Trinamool`s decision to withdraw support was discussed.

Government sources said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had wanted to explain to Banerjee the rationale behind the decisions on hiking diesel price, putting a cap on subsidised LPG cylinders and moving ahead on FDI in multi-brand retail.

Rejecting the government claim, Banerjee claimed nobody from Delhi contacted her "either before or after" the decisions were taken.

Railway minister Mukul Roy, who flanked her, said that as a cabinet minister he had not received any message from the PMO to communicate with Mamata Banerjee.

On the contrary, Banerjee had sent an SMS to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi at 7 pm on Friday but there was no response, said Union minister and Trinamool leader Saugata Roy.

Banerjee said she had in her message made it clear to Gandhi that Trinamool was opposed to these decisions.

Congress spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi said Gandhi tried to talk to Banerjee last night but was unable to reach her. The Congress said it told Saugata Roy that Gandhi was keen to talk to the West Bengal Chief Minister.

PTI

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