'BJP not encouraging defection in Trinamool'

Kolkata, April 29. Union Human Resource Development Minister Murli Monohar Joshi today said the BJP was not encouraging defection in Trinamool Congress and dissident TC leader Ajit Panja met the Prime Minister on his own.

``We are not encouraging any defection in Trinamool Congress. We have not invited Panja. He met Vajpayee on his own. As an MP he can meet anybody. There is no harm in it,'' Joshi who arrived here for the election campaign, told a press conference.

Apparently keeping the post poll scenario in mind, the senior BJP leader softpedalled on the issue of TC chief Mamata Banerjee's decision to quit the NDA and said, ``she has committed a mistake''.

Asked if BJP would support the TC-led front in the case of a hung Assembly, Joshi avoided a straight reply and said that CPI(M) could not form the Government in the State.

When told that he was not vocal against Banerjee, Joshi said ``I have not the habit of hurling abuse against anybody. But anyone who commits mistake, bears the consequence''.

To another question on the possibility of Banerjee's joining the NDA in future, the BJP leader said, ``now she has left NDA. I do not know if she will join again''.


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