The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mamata make-up meet

Calcutta, Nov. 4: Trinamul Congress MPs Sudip Bandopadhyay and Ajit Panja will share the stage with party chief Mamata Banerjee after two years, tomorrow.

Bandopadhyay and Panja had strained relations with Mamata in the recent past over the party’s tie-up with the central coalition, the NDA.

The state council meeting of the party will chalk out a strategy to “expose the CPM’s misrule and launch a sustained agitation against the state government for its failure in health, education and maintaining law and order”.

The meeting will condemn “the CPM’s attempts to gag the press on the pretext of restoring discipline in hospitals”, Trinamul sources said. Mamata, who had been in political hibernation for some time after the party’s poor show in the panchayat polls, intends to strengthen the organisation at the grassroots with an eye on the Lok Sabha elections due next year, they added.

All party MPs and legislators have been invited to the meeting tomorrow.

Panja, who recently mended fences with Mamata after a formal withdrawal of his “suspension” from the party, said: “I want to narrate to the party workers how the Marxists have systematically destroyed the infrastructure in the health sector. Once unity is fully restored at the grassroots level, our party will become a viable alternative to the Left Front.”

Bandopadhyay, whose proximity to some BJP leaders after Trinamul quit the NDA irked a section of the party, saw his relation with Mamata nosedive after an abortive bid to enter the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Cabinet without her approval. But Bandopadhyay said he was now in a mood to “forgive and forget”. “I am not bothered about the past.”

With the former rebels by her side, Mamata is likely to finalise the Trinamul stand on the government’s efforts to restrict rallies in the city on weekdays.

Mamata had made it clear that she will not hesitate to bring out rallies on working days to meet “emergency situations”. Her party will tomorrow consider the draft prepared by the government after an all-party meeting on rally restrictions, which the Trinamul had boycotted.

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