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Mitra to fill in for Mamata at Delhi meet

Calcutta, April 15: Finance minister Amit Mitra will represent Mamata Banerjee at tomorrow’s meeting of chief ministers on internal security, to be chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi.

Mamata decided to skip the meeting because of preoccupations in Calcutta, an official in the chief minister’s secretariat said. “She has a series of meetings tomorrow. She will, however, attend the May 5 meeting on the National Counter Terrorism Centre in Delhi,” he said.

Sources at Writers’ Buildings said chief secretary Samar Ghosh, home secretary Basudeb Banerjee and director-general of police Naparajit Mukherjee will accompany Mitra.

Panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee said Mamata would be present at the May 5 meeting because that was “more important” than tomorrow’s meeting. “Moreover, frequent visits to Delhi may hamper her work in Bengal,” he added.

Mamata’s predecessors Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Jyoti Basu had on several occasions deputed their cabinet colleagues to represent them at meetings in Delhi.

Leader of the Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra recalled that he had, as health minister, represented Bhattacharjee at a meeting on national security in Delhi last year. “As far as I remember, I represented the state at three such meetings in Delhi,” he said.

Tomorrow’s meeting was originally scheduled for February 15, but had to be deferred because of Assembly elections in five states and the budget session.