The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Comeback call to Mamata

Krishnagar (Nadia), May 29: Defence minister Pranab Mukherjee today called upon Mamata Banerjee to return to her parent party and strengthen the anti-Left movement in Bengal.

In an apparent bid to capitalise on the Trinamul Congress’ poll debacle, Mukherjee told reporters the Congress has not “forgotten all those who left the party in the late nineties”.

“Though they deserted the Congress at a critical moment, we still consider them part and parcel of the party. How can we forget all these political workers who once shared our problems as well as pleasures'” he said.

But the high Mukherjee is riding — both on a party and personal level — came through when he said that “Mamata has learnt a lesson or two from the Lok Sabha polls and should accept the Congress as the real anti-Left force in Bengal”.

“It is time she and others in the Trinamul Congress came back to our party fold when we are celebrating our victory,” he said, on a stopover here on the way to Jangipur, his constituency.

Not only has the Congress come to power in Delhi, it has improved its performance in Bengal under Mukherjee’s stewardship. Mukherjee himself has been appointed defence minister, and the leader of the ruling party in the Lok Sabha on his lower House debut from Jangipur.

The Congress has also welcomed Trinamul rebel Sudip Bandopadhyay, who had contested as a Congress-backed Independent.

His overture received a rebuff with Trinamul general secretary Mukul Roy taunting the Congress’ dependence on the Left to run the central government.

“The Congress has forged an unholy alliance with the Marxists who have been killing its workers and other political opponents for the past 27 years. The CPM has also unleashed unprecedented terror in the post-poll scenario. How will Mukherjee face his party workers in different districts reeling under the CPM’s terror' On the other hand, we believe Congress workers and other anti-CPM forces will shortly join our party to put up a united fight against the ruling Left Front,” Roy said in Calcutta.

Though Mamata was not available for comment, Trinamul sources said she has decided to launch an anti-CPM movement across Bengal by roping in disgruntled Congress workers and functionaries.

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