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Minister Mamata makes up

Uttarpara (Hooghly), Sept 23: After burying the hatchet with Ajit Panja, Mamata Banerjee has embarked on a course of rapprochement with rebel MP Sudip Bandopadhyay, who had incurred her wrath by hobnobbing with central BJP leaders behind her back.

The Trinamul Congress chief made the move early this morning by calling him in Delhi and requesting that he rush to Calcutta to join her in the campaign for the byelection to the Uttarpara Assembly seat.

The Uttarpara seat fell vacant following the death of Trinamul MLA Swaraj Mukherjee.

Bandopadhyay rose to the occasion, rushing to do his leader’s bidding without attending a standing committee meeting in Parliament.

Trinamul sources indicated that Mamata was under pressure from a section of senior BJP leaders to mend fences with Bandopadhyay since her re-induction into the Union cabinet. “Mamata is left with no option but to make peace with Sudipda for the sake of strengthening the coalition at the Centre,” said a key Trinamul functionary.

A measure of the new bonhomie could be had from the manner in which Bandopadhayay cut short his speech at the Konnagar Kanaipur maidan, about 30 km from Calcutta, around 5.30 this evening to welcome Mamata, who reached 10 minutes behind schedule.

“Now the turn has come for our party leader to take over the dais and apprise you of the party’s future course of action. Listen to our beloved Mamata who has launched a relentless struggle to oust the ruling communists from Bengal,” he said to cheers.

Political observers feel Mamata’s move to win over two rebel MPs — Panja and Bandopadhyay — will not only strengthen her party organisation across Bengal, but cause worries for both the CPM and the Congress.

“The Trinamul is emerging as a formidable alternative to the communists here and if we stand united, we will be able to oust the corrupt Marxists,” Mamata told the cheering crowd.

“The deteriorating law and order situation prevailing in Bengal warrants imposition of President’s rule under Article 356 and I call upon the Centre to give it a thought,” she added.

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