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Akhilesh to attend Calcutta meeting

Calcutta, Sept. 4: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav will visit Calcutta with his father Mulayam Singh Yadav on September 11 for the Samajwadi Party’s national executive meeting.

Party general secretary and former minister in the Left government Kiranmoy Nanda today confirmed the presence of the two leaders for the two-day session, beginning September 12 at Nalban in Salt Lake. This is Akhilesh’s first visit to Calcutta after becoming the chief minister.

Party MP Jaya Bachchan and 85 other national executive committee members are expected to attend the meeting, held every two years.

Nanda said all the leaders would put up at a Salt Lake hotel.

Asked about the party’s agenda for the two-day session, Nanda said over phone from Delhi: “We will discuss our electoral strategy for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the task ahead of the party given the prevailing political situation in the country.”

On whether Akhilesh would call on his Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee during his stay in the city, Nanda said: “This depends on Mamata. Akhileshji had expressed his desire to come to Calcutta and meet her immediately after he assumed office as chief minister. We are in talks with Trinamul leaders to plan a meeting with Mamata.”

A Trinamul general secretary also did not rule out the possibility of the chief minister meeting her Uttar Pradesh counterpart and his father.

“Mamatadi would take time out of her busy schedule to meet Akhilesh and his father. After all, she has always maintained a good rapport with Mulayamji despite a hitch that had cropped up over his decision to support Pranab Mukherjee’s presidential candidature,” he said.

A national executive committee member of the Samajwadi Party said leaders might explore the possibility of forging an electoral tie-up with the Trinamul Congress for the 2014 parliamentary elections.

On this, a Trinamul vice-president said: “This is too early to comment.”

Chand Mohammed, the lone Samajwadi MLA in Bengal, said the presence of senior leaders in the session would help the party consolidate its organisation before the panchayat elections.

“Our presence is limited to few pockets of Murshidabad, East Midnapore and West Midnapore. However, the party’s two-day session would come as an encouragement for the rank and file and also help us consolidate the organisation before the rural polls,” he said.