New Delhi, March 12: It was a house-warming all right, but for Mamata Banerjee, it was also a homecoming of sorts.
When the Trinamul Congress leader opened a new party office in the bungalow that was allotted to her at Mahadev Road, the stream of visitors included some unexpected ones.
Prominent among them was BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu, who had distanced himself from Mamata after the Bengal polls, her return to the NDA and dissensions within Trinamul.
But Naidu, who reportedly made up with Mamata before the Tripura election and campaigned with her, was among the first to arrive. His presence was promptly interpreted in political circles as a sign that she could be reinducted into the Cabinet though Mamata underplayed the speculation.
“Cabinet berth means nothing for us. We have been and are working with the NDA,” she told reporters at the function.
Stating that her earlier decision to quit the NDA was “part of the collective responsibility of our party”, Mamata said: “In politics and political parties, doors are always open for talks.”
Today, she refused to get into a tangle over Ayodhya, Tehelka or the Eastern Railways bifurcation. Mamata merely said that on Tehelka, the government had accepted Trinamul’s demand to set up a judicial commission while on Ayodhya, her terse response was: “We simply go by the agreed NDA agenda.”
The other visitors were NDA convener and defence minister George Fernandes — ironically the person who caused her to quit the coalition after the Tehelka episode — Telugu Desam Party MP Yerran Naidu, INLD member Sushil K. Indora and minister of state for parliamentary affairs Vijay Goel.