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Trinamool, Congress squabble over Padma award to Pranab
January 28, 2008 19:38 IST
West Bengal's two major opposition parties on Monday crossed swords over the awarding of the Padma Vhibhusan to senior Congress leader and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
The Congress demanded an apology from Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee for her criticism of Mukherjee being named for the award, but the TC leadership ruled it out and defended the party supremo's action.
"We stand by what Mamata Banerjee has said with regard to Mukherjee being chosen for the award. We will continue to oppose in public forums the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government's selection of a serving cabinet minister for the coveted award," Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly Partha Chatterjee said.
It was highly improper and raised questions about the impartiality in the selection by the government, he said.
The Congress reacted sharply to Mamata's criticism and demanded an apology from her.
''Banerjee has made a statement on Mukherjee being given the Padma Vibhusan, which is unsavoury and against all decency. She should apologise with folded hands for her remark,'' said West Bengal Congress General Secretary Manas Bhuyian.
'The Centre is dependent on the Communist Party of India � Marxists' support and Pranab Mukherjee is the CPI-M's spokesman in West Bengal. I think political consideration played a part in giving the award to him,' Mamata had said on Sunday.