The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sudip in hiding, Mamata runs

Calcutta, May 27: Since his return from Delhi last night, Trinamul MP Sudip Bandopadhyay has gone underground. Let’s say he has not been seen in public.

What or who’s he afraid of' No Mamata Banerjee, certainly.

Because she, too, was running today — from him, it seemed. But not leaving behind her Ganesh, though.

In this season of rumours, a bee put it in her bonnet that Bandopadhyay, who dared to enter the Vajpayee ministry without her sanction and failed, was planning to make a reconciliatory reconnaissance of her home.

“Let’s go, let’s go,” cried Mamata, startling her team whose members had just started hunkering down to the task of working out the strategy for next month’s byelections.

“Hurry up, we will have the meeting in the (Topsia) party office,” Mamata stood up. The team followed suit.

So did Ganesh, her new obsession, if gods can follow suit.

But this was only a painted Ganesh, brought to life on canvas by Mamata over the past 48 hours. She had it framed and delivered to her house.

If Mamata was edgy, Bandopadhyay was out of reach. His mobile phone was switched off and the central Calcutta apartment door firmly shut. But a spokesman continued to say: “Sudipda is not home, don’t know when he will return.”

His close aides admitted that efforts were under way to set up a meeting with Mamata, who has been counselled by her advisers, notably mayor Subrata Mukherjee, to agree to it. But Mamata is unlikely to relent in a hurry.

Bandopadhyay would hate to hear it, but an ailing Ajit Panja, also a rebel, called Mamata from London to say he was all right.

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