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Pranab barb at prospective ally

Calcutta, Feb. 22: Pranab Mukherjee today accused “some people” of putting up “self-created obstacles on the road to the state’s development” at the foundation stone laying for the East West Metro, two days after Mamata Banerjee urged him not to attend the programme.

When Mukherjee, foreign minister and state Congress president, spoke in Salt Lake, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was next to him. “It is sad that some people are putting up self-created (atmakrita) obstacles on the road to the state’s development. One shouldn’t bring narrow politics into development activities. Our main objective is to work for people’s welfare,” he said.

Mukherjee had asserted yesterday that he would attend the programme, no matter what Mamata, his prospective election ally, said. The minister had a word of caution for Mamata’s brand of politics. “People don’t accept those who try to stall development projects simply for opposition’s sake.”

At a news conference in Mamata’s house this evening, MLA Partha Chatterjee said “Banglar nayak (Bengal’s hero)” was “acting as the CPM mouthpiece”. “We didn’t see him in Nandigram or Singur. But he is often with CPM leaders in foundation stone-laying ceremonies now.”

Asked if Mukherjee’s statements could jeopardise talks on the alliance, Chatterjee said: “That is a different issue. The decision will be taken at the highest level.”

The chief minister heaped praise on Mukherjee. “Without Pranabda, the East West Metro would not have seen the light of day.”

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