The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Patch-up mood in Trinamul

Calcutta, Dec. 1: Keen to contain growing dissent in the party before the panchayat polls, Trinamul Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee seems to have started working towards a dialogue with suspended MP Ajit Panja.

“Mamata is serious about settling all scores in the organisation so that the party can take on the challenge from the ruling CPM in the panchayat polls,” Trinamul chief whip Ranjit Panja said tonight.

Contacted in his New Delhi residence, Ranjit said the issue came up for discussion last night when Mamata met some MPs informally. “However, some initiative has to be taken from Ajit’s side. Ajit may be my younger brother, but I cannot support him if he continuously speaks against the leadership,” he added.

Ranjit denied reports that his party sent a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi, requesting him to cancel Ajit’s House membership. “We have not yet changed our stand vis-à-vis Ajit. He is just suspended from the party pending inquiry,” he added.

Sources close to Ajit said he has started sending feelers to Mamata for a rapprochement before next year’s panchayat polls and has requested Calcutta mayor Subrata Mukherjee to broker peace.

Mukherjee had earlier expressed his desire to help the two founding members of the party patch up.

Another party MP, Sudip Bandopadhyay, who antagonised Mamata with his unilateral moves to woo BJP leaders, recently sent his actress-wife and MLA Nayana to the Trinamul chief’s Delhi residence to pay a “social visit”.

According to Trinamul sources, Nayana deplored the “atmosphere of misunderstanding” between Mamata and Bandopadhyay and reiterated her loyalty to the chief.

Mamata, on her part, intends to follow a carrot-and-stick policy to discipline wayward MPs. As far as Ajit is concerned, the first condition for withdrawal of suspension is dissolution of the parallel committees set up at his behest in the city and different districts.

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