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After Badal, ally Congress reaches out to Mamata

March 10, 2012 19:41 IST

A day after the Congress sought to reach out to its allies, party general secretary M Shakeel Ahmed on Saturday called on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to discuss 'things important to the state and general national scenario'.

Emerging from a meeting with Banerjee, which lasted for about 45 minutes, Ahmed told reporters, "It is a courtesy call. We discussed things which are important to West Bengal and the general national scenario."

Trinamool Congress general secretary and Union minister Mukul Roy, a close associate of Banerjee, was also present in the meeting at the state secretariat.

Asked whether the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls were discussed, Ahmed said, "Only a passing reference was made."

The Congress leader sought to downplay the invitation extended by Shiromani Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal to Banerjee, requesting her to attend his swearing-in ceremony.

"In politics, there are human relations and nothing much should be read into this. We are also getting invitations from others," he said.

Asked to comment on Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi's remark that the country might head for a mid-term poll and the Union government was a lame duck, Ahmed said, "The minister has already clarified everything and I have nothing much to say in this regard."

Ahead of the budget session of Parliament beginning next week, party spokesman Manish Tewari had stated, "If at all there is a need to further energise that communication (with the allies), Congress is always ready to walk the extra mile."

His remarks came close on the heels of Dinesh Trivedi speaking about mid-term polls and dubbing the Union government a 'lame duck' in the wake of the disappointing poll results.

Ahmed said that he congratulated Banerjee for the surrender of top Maoist leader Suchitra Mahato.

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