Mamata meets Advani

NEW DELHI DEC. 24. Amid speculation of securing a portfolio, the Union Minister and Trinamool Congress leader, Mamata Banerjee, today met the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, and highlighted what she called the dismal state of law and order in West Bengal.

"We informed Mr. Advani of the prevailing situation in West Bengal where even women cadres of the ruling party are feeling unsafe," Ms. Banerjee told reporters here after a delegation of her party MPs, accompanied by the BJP MP, S.S. Ahluwalia, met Mr. Advani.

The Trinamool Congress leader, accommodated in the Union Cabinet on September 8, is yet to be allocated a portfolio. Though officially she met Mr. Advani on the West Bengal law and order problem, political observers say that her meeting came in the backdrop of reports that she could be given the Environment and Forests portfolio, which had fallen vacant after the DMK Ministers resigned. Sources said that a decision on her portfolio would be taken only after the return of the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, from the SAARC summit in Pakistan on January 6 next.

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