The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Panja push for Mamata comeback

New Delhi, Nov. 15: Suspended Trinamul Congress leader Ajit Panja today urged Mamata Banerjee to rise above “personal whim and caprice” and return to the NDA fold “immediately and unconditionally”.

In a move that could aggravate the fissures in the Trinamul, Panja appealed to the party’s chief to stop wasting time on “infighting” and instead get ready to fight the Left Front in Bengal. The plea comes a day before the party’s working committee meets to decide whether or not to rejoin the NDA.

In what may appear to be another attempt at berating Mamata, Panja also wrote to NDA convener George Fernandes that he was still in the Central coalition and seeking the defence minister’s intervention to prevent the closure of Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation and Fertilizer Corporation of India.

“I have always been and am still in the NDA. I believe in its principles and ideology even though I am not invited to any of the NDA meetings. I am not being heard and none is allowed to represent Bengal,” the ousted Trinamul leader said.

He said ex parte decisions were being taken on various important issues concerning a large number of people of Bengal. “For instance, the decision to close down all the units and offices of Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation and Fertilizer Corporation of India will throw out 12,000 employees from their services, besides adversely affecting productivity of agriculture in the eastern states, in general, and Bengal in particular,” Panja said.

Urging Mamata to return to the NDA, the former Union minister asserted that “after considering and examining the present political scenario, particularly in Bengal, I would once again call upon (party chief) Mamata Banerjee to join the NDA immediately and unconditionally”.

Rebel Trinamul leader Sudip Bandopadhyay, who has been in touch with senior BJP leaders Pramod Mahajan and Arun Jaitley, has been voicing a similar opinion. He has also demanded that Panja’s suspension be immediately revoked.

Stating that for the past one-and-half years, he had been “insisting” that Trinamul rejoin the NDA, Panja claimed that “it appears to be a golden chance for her (Mamata) to join the NDA unconditionally and without any ambiguity… (and) to get ready for a real fight against the Left Front in Bengal instead of spending valuable time on infighting”.

“She must realise that personal whim and caprice have done a lot of damage to the Trinamul Congress,” he said, adding: “I feel Mamata will see reason and should not lose this last chance to rise to the occasion.”

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