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Manmohan upset about SFI attack on Bengal CM

New Delhi, April 10, 2013, DHNS: 0:45 IST

Mamata indisposed, cancels meeting with PM Singh and Chidambaram

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed regret to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after she and her minister by Students Federation of India (SFI) and other Left activists on Tuesday outside the Planning Commission’s office here. Singh’s move is seen as an act ostensibly to keep the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief in good humour.

Singh was understood to have spoken to Banerjee and expressed regret over the incident on Tuesday evening after her office called up the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) seeking cancelation of her meeting scheduled with him.

The West Bengal chief minister sought cancellation of the meeting with Singh because her blood pressure had dipped and she was feeling chest pain after the incident. “She was also very upset about what happened outside the Planning Commission,” TMC sources said.

Mamata was scheduled to meet Finance Minister P Chidambaram here on Wednesday but she cancelled it and left for Kolkata while a large number of TMC activists led by party MP Mukul Roy staged a protest here at Jantar Mantar against the heckling directed at the chief minister and Finance Minister Amit Mitra.

Even as the prime minister expressed regret to Banerjee over the incident, the ruling Congress sought to play it safe with the Left parties too. Both the TMC and Left parties were allies of the Congress and the ruling party may need support of the any of the two after 2014 polls. Union ministers Kamal Nath and Manish Tewari on Wednesday firmly condemned the heckling of incident but suggested that political parties should exercise ‘restraint’ and ‘maintain’ discipline in political discourse.

“Whether it is our friends from the Left, or our friends in Trinamool Congress, or political parties across the length and breadth of this country, everybody needs to exercise restraint. We should not allow violence either in language or in physicality to become a power in the political discourse,” information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said, terming Tuesday’s incident as ‘extremely unfortunate.’ The Congress too condemned the incident but said it was not for the party but the TMC and Left to comment further over the heckling incident.

“The incident was condemnable but we have nothing to do with this issue. We are very sorry. We had no prior information about what would happen with Banerjee,” party spokesperson Renuka Choudhary .

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