New Delhi, Aug. 22: Trinamul Congress sources have described a “chance meeting” between Mamata Banerjee and two central BJP leaders last night as a mere “mere hi-hello exchange”.
Keen to add to the government’s troubles, BJP sources didn’t reject outright insinuations that there was more to the polite conversation than meets the eye.
However, if the BJP was nursing hopes to get Mamata’s support for its demand for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation, the Bengal chief minister did not show any signs that she shared the Opposition party’s opinion.
BJP MPs and spokespersons Shahnawaz Hussain and Rajiv Pratap Rudy, both of whom are from Bihar and work as a team in the faction-ridden BJP, were in Calcutta on Tuesday on a private visit. They took the same Air India flight to Delhi in the evening that Mamata did.
An aide of the Bengal chief minister said she “chatted” with Hussain and Rudy at the airport lounge. BJP sources claimed the conversation continued in the plane as well with Hussain and Rudy — both call Mamata “Didi” —switching seats with two aides of the chief minister.
The Trinamul sources said Mamata merely reciprocated courtesy expected of public figures and nothing more should be read into the interaction.
Other sources said the BJP MPs had petitioned her with favours for their constituencies, Bhagalpur and Chapra, in Bihar.
BJP sources said Hussain wanted more trains to go through Bhagalpur, while Rudy pleaded with Mamata, who was accompanied by railway minister Mukul Roy, to ensure that farmers who had “forfeited” land for a rail wheel manufacturing unit in Chapra be compensated with jobs.