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Sudip zeal stings Trinamul

Calcutta, Dec. 29: Trinamul Congress MP Sudip Bandopadhyay today met deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani to discuss a development project for Calcutta’s riverfront, apparently cocking a snook at party chief Mamata Banerjee.

Bandopadhyay had called on tourism minister Jagmohan and shipping minister Ved Prakash Goel yesterday to request them to release funds to expedite the project, which aims at developing and beautifying 41 ghats by the Hooghly.

His “overzealous” move was greeted today with angry protests from key Trinamul functionaries, working overtime for the success of the party’s Brigade Parade Grounds rally on January 6.

Bandopadhyay, the Trinamul parliamentarian from Calcutta North-West, was stripped of the post of the party chief in the Lok Sabha for inviting Union communications minister Pramod Mahajan and BJP spokesman Arun Jaitley to his central Calcutta residence without the party’s knowledge.

“Instead of running after BJP leaders and ministers in the capital, Sudip should have come down here and joined us to step up campaign for the Brigade rally,” said a senior party leader.

He added that Sudip’s absence from Calcutta did not go down well with the party’s rank and file.

Mamata resented the manner in which Bandopadhyay went on meeting Union ministers and senior BJP leaders without taking the party into confidence, Trinamul sources said. “It is unbecoming of Sudipda to move around in Delhi when we all here have been passing sleepless nights on how to make the rally a success,” she was said to have told her associates.

Mamata, however, was not available for comment. Trinamul general secretary Mukul Roy said: “We are keeping watch on the developments.”

Undeterred by criticism, Bandopadhyay made it clear he would keep meeting Union ministers and BJP leaders till he got the project cleared.

“I am least bothered about what party people are talking about my regular interactions with Union ministers. But this is necessary,” he said. “I requested Advaniji to earmark special funds for the beautification and development of 41 ghats by the Hooghly in next year’s budget. I also told him to see to it that Rs 30 crore be immediately released to begin the work,” he added.

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