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Updated: August 15, 2010 02:16 IST

Pranab calls on Mamata

Raktima Bose
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Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee exchange a few words at a function in Kolkata. A file photo: Sushanta Patronobish.
The Hindu Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee exchange a few words at a function in Kolkata. A file photo: Sushanta Patronobish.

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday called upon Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee at her residence here, to enquire after her health, even as he rubbished media reports suggesting that he had come on a ‘specific assignment.' The meeting lasted an hour.

Calling it a “visit due to personal compulsions,” Mr. Mukherjee rebuffed media reports that he had been sent as an envoy of the Prime Minister or the Congress high command for asking Ms. Banerjee to issue a clarification on her statements made at the Lalgarh rally on August 9.

Ms. Banerjee has been keeping indoors since then and it is learnt that she was unwell after the incident in which a truck collided with her convoy as it was returning from the rally.

Mr. Mukherjee was accompanied by West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee president Manas Bhunia.

“Ms. Banerjee is not keeping well and we are all anxious about her health. Since there was no parliament today [Saturday], I decided to visit her,” he told journalists after the meeting.

Hoping that the Railway Minister would get well soon and rejoin the monsoon session of parliament, Mr. Mukherjee said that he had asked his Cabinet colleague to take doctor's advice before joining work.

Declining to take any questions, Mr. Mukherjee came down heavily on a section of the media for circulating reports which suggested that he would be showing Ms. Banerjee a ‘red card' for her statements made regarding Maoist leader Azad .

“I did not want to speak about it but I am forced to say that reports circulated by a few television channels that I am being sent by the Prime Minister or the Congress high command are completely wrong…none has sent me. Neither have I come here with any card of any colour nor would I have ever done so,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

Ms. Banerjee's statement that Maoist spokesperson Azad was “murdered ” created a furore in parliament with the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Left parties uniting in their opposition to the statement and demanding a clarification from her.

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