The Telegraph
Friday , March 22 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mamata cloud on Cong poll campaign

Trinamul MPs stage a dharna outside Parliament on Thursday against the Centre’s “step-motherly attitude” towards Bengal.
Inside the Lok Sabha, they raised slogans over the state’s demand for a moratorium on debt repayment. They railed against ministers Jairam Ramesh, whom they accused of not releasing funds for rebel-hit Jungle Mahal, P. Chidambaram and Pawan Bansal.
Picture by Ramakant Kushwaha

Calcutta, March 21: Mamata Banerjee’s decision to stand by the Centre on foreign policy has left the state Congress wondering how to mount campaigns in the run-up to the panchayat polls.

Welcoming Trinamul’s stand, the AICC’s minder for Bengal Congress, Shakeel Ahmed, said today the state leadership would not launch any fresh movement “targeting Mamataji individually” before the rural polls but agitate only on “issues related to people’s causes”.

“Despite our decision to go it alone in the rural polls in Bengal, we have no plans to launch any fresh movement targeting Mamataji individually at this juncture,” Shakeel said. “However, they could agitate against issues that solely affect the common people.”

Against the backdrop, it is to be seen how the state Congress handles its anti-government agitation on March 26 in front of offices of police chiefs in the districts demanding minimum support price for paddy growers.

“Our March 26 event would be a low-key affair because party workers do not appear to be very enthusiastic about it,” said state Congress vice-president Debabrata Basu.

“We have worked out a policy decision to go it alone for the rural polls. But if grassroots workers come to an electoral understanding with Trinamul to keep the Left at bay, we have no control on them,” said PCC chief Pradip Bhattacharya.

Trinamul MP Sultan Ahmed hoped that Mamata’s stand on the Lanka issue would “send a positive message to the ranks of both the parties”. He added: “At this moment, I would not read too much into this.”