The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mamata morality sermon to BJP

Calcutta, May 26: Mamata Banerjee today launched a subtle attack on the BJP leadership, especially deputy Prime Minister .K. Advani.

The Trinamul Congress leader interpreted for the BJP’s benefit the role of a coalition leader and said that “mutual respect” between the bigger and smaller parties should serve as the basis of coalition politics.

“Nothing is politically correct where morality is absent. As I perceive it, there will be coalition politics in our country for the next 50 years. So, there should be mutual respect and all relationships should work towards strengthening the coalition,” she said.

She also indicated that she did not have any immediate plans to quit the Vajpayee-led coalition. However, Mamata, who in close circles held Advani responsible for the Cabinet expansion fiasco, leading to her decision to not return, today indicated what she felt about the deputy Prime Minister.

Asked if her relations with Advani had soured, Mamata said: “If I find someone worthy of my respect, I will not hesitate to show my respect to him. But I cannot dream of slandering anyone.”

She was certainly not showing any respect.

Mamata kept Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee outside the scope of even indirect criticism. Referring to the events leading to her decision to cancel her visit to Delhi on Saturday, the Trinamul leader said the Prime Minister could not be blamed for it.

“He (Vajpayee) did not know that I was completely in the dark about the decision to induct Sudip Bandopadhyay into the ministry and he said so to the media. We are satisfied with his reply,” she said.

Mamata denied there was any crisis in the party and refused to narrate the details of Friday-Saturday’s drama. But she sought to convey the impression that she would not rush to meet the Prime Minister to discuss her reinduction.

“We can always go to Delhi. We have a party office there and our MPs have their respective residences. But we are not in a hurry and there is no use disturbing the Prime Minister right now as he is going on a trip abroad,” Mamata said.

She disclosed that Trinamul had earlier sought an appointment with the Prime Minister to submit a memorandum on the “reign of terror unleashed by the CPM during and after the panchayat polls”, as if suggesting that this is a hearing she expects to be granted once Vajpayee returns. Whenever it comes through, it could provide the occasion to discuss her possible re-entry.

BJP sources feel it would be difficult for Mamata and Advani to come to terms with each other after what has happened. Advani is believed to have been pushing Bandopadhyay’s case for a place in the ministry against Mamata’s wishes.

The plot unravelled as Mamata put her foot down at the cost of exposing herself to another bout of uncertainty, which is unlikely to end in a hurry unless Advani changes his mind about her.


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