Mamata wishes Ashok on birthday

Mamata Banerjee today visited the Forward Bloc headquarters in Calcutta to offer belated birthday wishes to veteran leader Ashok Ghosh, a day after the CPM leadership called upon all non-BJP Opposition forces to unite against Trinamul.

By Our Special Correspondent in Calcutta
  • Published 10.07.15
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Mamata and Ghosh at the Bloc headquarters

Calcutta, July 9: Mamata Banerjee today visited the Forward Bloc headquarters in Calcutta to offer belated birthday wishes to veteran leader Ashok Ghosh, a day after the CPM leadership called upon all non-BJP Opposition forces to unite against Trinamul.

Although the chief minister said the visit was a "courtesy call", the move fuelled speculation in political circles, particularly in the CPM, whether she was trying to drive a wedge between Left Front partners.

A senior CPM leader said: "Doubts arise as our chief minister never does anything without intentions. May be, she is trying to create misunderstanding among Front allies by visiting the Bloc office and wishing Ashokda."

Mamata reached the Bloc office, Hemanta Basu Bhavan, around 1pm with urban development minister Firhad Hakim and wished Ghosh, who turned 94 on July 2, a 100 years and good health.

She stayed there for around 30 minutes after handing over flowers, sweets and a portrait of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to Ghosh.

"Ashokda is the most senior Left leader. He has had a long political career and is respected by all. That's why I came down to Hemanta Basu Bhavan to offer birthday wishes to him. I am feeling really happy now that I have met him," the chief minister said at the Bloc office.

Ghosh heaped praises on Mamata, calling her his "little sister".

"Mamata is my little sister. I am really happy that she has come. I believe Mamata is treading the path shown by Netaji as we are doing," the Bloc leader said.

Mamata said she used to visit Jyoti Basu too on his birthdays during the last few years of his life. She said political leaders should not forget to be "courteous" towards each other.

"I used to visit Jyotibabu on his birthdays during his last few years. He used to feel happy for that. That should be the spirit. Political leaders should be courteous in their approach. Otherwise, how will the juniors learn?" the chief minister said.