Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is likely to be in Chennai to attend the birthday of Governor La Ganesan’s elder brother, in what appears to be an attempt by the Trinamool Congress chief to mend ties with the Raj Bhavan.
Manipur Governor La Ganesan was given additional charge of West Bengal in July after his predecessor Jagdeep Dhankhar became the vice-president.
Dhankhar’s three-year tenure in the Raj Bhavan was marked by acrimonious exchanges with the state government, with Mamata even blocking him on Twitter in January.
In contrast to her stormy ties with Dhankhar on multiple state-related affairs including various Bills in the Vidhan Sabha, Mamata has taken a soft stand with Ganesan. Both sides seem to be making a conscious attempt to mend the ties.
On Monday, Ganesan attended Kali Puja at Mamata’s residence along with his family. This was the first time that Ganesan visited the CM’s residence in Kalighat. Mamata also gave a short tour to the Governor amidst the festivities.
Sources who were present at the occasion told ThePrint that the Governor was startled by Mamata’s modest residence and asked her how she lives in a small house.
Every year, Mamata performs Kali Puja at her residence where she cooks the prasad for the goddess. This annual event is attended by senior bureaucrats, ministers, MPs, MLAs, consular generals, and eminent personalities. Interestingly, Dhankhar had visited Mamata’s residence for Kali Puja during his tenure as well.
Floored by the CM’s hospitality, Ganesan invited Mamata for his elder brother’s 80th birthday on 3 November in Chennai. The TMC chief is likely to reach Chennai on 2 November and join the celebration which will be attended by various political leaders.
Tamil Nadu CM M. K. Stalin is also likely to attend the gala event. A one-on-one meeting between Mamata and Stalin is also likely to take place. The West Bengal chief minister will return to Kolkata on 3 November.
“CM Mamata should have kept cordial relationships with the previous governors for the development of West Bengal, but she played politics and is now trying to amend ties. She can attend the Governor’s personal programme but she must know the Governor will abide by the Constitution when it comes to work. So such gestures will not benefit her politically,” BJP senior leader Rahul Sinha told ThePrint.
Trinamool Congress MP Sougata Roy, however, said one should not read too much into this gesture. “It’s a social invitation and the Governor has extended a personal invite to the chief minister which she has accepted. There’s nothing to read between the lines,” Roy told ThePrint.
(Edited by Tony Rai)
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