Pranab meets ‘ill’ Mamata, denies political agenda
Kolkata: Union Finance Minister and Congress heavyweight Pranab Mukherjee Saturday paid an hour-long visit to Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been taken ill after a road accident, and denied his visit was ordered by the party's central leadership.
"After the Lalgarh meeting Banerjee has fallen ill. We are all concerned about her health. I came to see how she is," Mukherjee said while leaving the Trinamool Congress chief's spartan residence at Kalighat in South Kolkata.
Mukherjee, on a two-hour visit to the city, arrived at Banerjee's residence at 6.15 p.m., accompanied by state Congress chief Manas Bhuniya.
Mukherjee expressed the hope that Banerjee will get well soon and attend the ongoing monsoon session of parliament.
"I had decided to come and see her during the weekend break in parliament. So, I am here. I have told her to go by the doctor's advice," he said.
Mukherjee took the opportunity to rubbish reports in a section of the media suggesting that the leadership in New Delhi wanted to seek an explanation on Banerjee's remarks at a rally in the Maoist stronghold of Lalgarh.
There were reports in some news channels that Mukherjee was sent to the railway minister by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"This is all bogus. I have come here on my own accord. There is no other reason. I have not come here at anybody's orders," said the minister.
Mukherjee also took potshots at the media for saying that he would be visiting Banerjee to show her the green card. "I have not come with a red card, green card or a yellow card."
Before coming to the city, the Congress veteran told mediapersons in Delhi: "Whatever is being reported is an absolute figment of imagination."
"I am going to meet her because she is unwell. There is no political agenda," he said.
"Ahead of my meeting, how do you know what I am going to discuss?" he asked reporters.
At the Lalgarh rally Monday, Banerjee slammed the killing of Maoist spokesperson Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad in a gunfight with police in Andhra Pradesh July 2, and even suggested that it was a staged shootout.
The Left accused Banerjee of "political collaboration" with Maoists at the rally.
On her way back from Lalgarh, a lorry intruded into the convoy of the railway minister and hit an Intelligence Bureau car behind her vehicle.
Banerjee subsequently took ill, complaining of pain in the chest, neck and waist and breathlessness and was advised rest.
The West Bengal government has ordered a probe into the incident.