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CM trip to break ice with Cong

Nov. 21: Mamata Banerjee will reach Delhi tomorrow on a four-day trip that is being seen as aimed at removing the perception that Trinamul is considering parting ways with the Congress.

Today, the Trinamul chief instructed her party leaders to refrain from commenting on yesterday’s Congress panchayati raj convention in Calcutta, where state Congress leaders criticised the ally.

Although officially, the chief minister will visit Delhi to take part in the Bengal “State Day” celebrations at the India International Trade Fair on November 24, sources said she would reach two days earlier to “build bridges” with the Congress and also to seek the co-operation of bureaucrats for the development of Bengal.

Trinamul sources ruled out the possibility of further escalating the tension with the Congress, saying Mamata was likely to meet the Prime Minister and other key central ministers and make it clear that she was not considering the possibility of pulling out of the UPA government.

“Mamata is not going to spoil her relations with the Centre because of the tension with Bengal Congress leaders. Such things happen in politics,” a Trinamul MP said.

“The Congress and Trinamul need each other and none would gain anything by precipitating a minor crisis,” he added.

The chief minister will organise a dinner for Bengal-cadre IAS officers, including Manmohan Singh’s principal secretary Pulok Chatterjee, and other prominent Bengali bureaucrats in Delhi on Thursday to “seek their assistance” for Bengal’s development. Mamata had organised such dinners as railway minister but Thursday’s event gains significance because of Chatterjee’s inclusion in the guest list.

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