Trinamool chief to skip oath-taking functions

Amid perceived rift, Congress on Sunday made Mamata Banerjee, chief of its troublesome ally Trinamool Congress (TMC) to change her decision on attending swearing-in ceremonies of Parkash Singh Badal as Punjab chief minister on March 14 and that of Akhilesh Yadav as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh on March 15.

Change in Mamata’s decision came after Congress, talking hard on the issue, virtually told her not to cross the ‘Laxman rekha’ of ‘coalition dharma’.

Informing about Mamata’s decision to skip swearing-in ceremonies, TMC leader and Rajya Sabha member Derek O' Brien said in Kolkata: “I just spoke to Mamatadi. She was keen to make the trip to Chandigarh and Lucknow but now she will be in West Bengal on the opening day of the Assembly for the Governor’s address.”

Brien’s statement came after Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi speaking on the issue had opined that: “Social interactions with strangers by those in partnership is permissible, but obviously, if things go beyond the normal boundaries of social courtesy, it would become immoral.”

While Badal’s party Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is a part of the BJP-led NDA, Samajwadi Party is extending outside support to UPA at the Centre.

Remarks made by Congress spokesperson assume significance as they came a day before the beginning of the Budget session of Parliament, which is expected to be a tough affair for the Congress-led coalition.

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