Kolkata: A day after the Congress sought to
reach out to its allies, party general secretary M Shakeel
Ahmed on Saturday called on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata
Banerjee here to discuss `things important to the state and
general national scenario`.
Emerging from a meeting with Banerjee, which lasted for
about 45 minutes, Ahmed told reporters, "It is a courtesy
call. We discussed things which are important to West Bengal
and the general national scenario."
Trinamool Congress general secretary and Union minister
Mukul Roy, a close associate of Banerjee, was also present in
the meeting at the state secretariat.
Asked whether the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls was
discussed, Ahmed said "only a passing reference was made."
The Congress leader sought to downplay the invitation
extended by Shiromani Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal to
Banerjee requesting her to attend his swearing-in ceremony.
"In politics there are human relations and nothing
much should be read into this. We are also getting invitations
from others," he said.
Asked to comment on Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi`s
remark that the country might head for a mid-term poll and the
Union government was a lame duck, Ahmed said "the minister has
already clarified everything and I have nothing much to say in
Ahead of the budget session of Parliament beginning next
week, party spokesman Manish Tewari had stated yesterday
"if at all there is a need to further energise that
communication (with the allies), Congress is always ready to
walk the extra mile."
His remarks came close on the heels of Dinesh Trivedi
speaking about mid-term polls and dubbing the union government
lame duck in the wake of the polls.
Ahmed said that he congratulated Banerjee for the
surrender of the top Maoist leader Suchitra Mahato yesterday.