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Rediff.com  » News » Didi calls for truce, sends rakhi to Pranab da

Didi calls for truce, sends rakhi to Pranab da

August 02, 2012 22:40 IST

Despite the bitterness between the two, the Didi (West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee) from Kolkata decided to begin a new chapter when she sent Dada (President Pranab Mukherjee) a rakhi to tie on his wrist.

In what must have been a surprise for Pranab, the rakhi is being seen as a peacemaking gesture, and a message that she wants to start over. Or may be she was being more pragmatic when she realised the clout Dada has in the United Progressive Alliance government and how he can help her and West Bengal if he wants to.

It may be recalled that in a recent interview, Pranab's wife Suvra had said that Mamta was like her sister-in-law, never mind the politics which was going on. The statement was a throwback to Mamta's entry into politics and the role that Pranab played as her mentor and the man who helped her find her feet in politics.

It was only later that relations between the two soured, finally coming to a head when she refused to support him for the Presidentship. It was only two days before the election that she came around to supporting him, announcing that she was doing it with a heavy heart and under pressure.

In return for the Rakhi, Pranab is sending her a saree, as is the custom where the brother gives a gift or money to his sister in return for the rakhi and to cement the bond between the two.

Mamta is probably hopeful that along with the saree, Pranab da will use his good offices to get a substantial financial package released for the state, something she has been working hard to ensure that West Bengal slowly comes out of the huge debt in which it is reeling.

Mamta had flown down to Delhi in a special aircraft arranged by Pranab da, which was paid for by the Congress party to attend his swearing in ceremony in Parliament's central hall.

Later that night she had a long meeting with him at Rashtrapati Bhawan. She has invited him to visit West Bengal, and it is likely that his first visit as President would be to his home state of Bengal where Didi and the entire government would be lined up to receive Dada, the first person from Bengal to become President.

Renu Mittal in New Delhi