Jairam to meet Mamata in peace bid

Written by Nistula Hebbar | Nistula Hebbar | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 7 2012, 08:36am hrs
The uncertain state of the UPA governments alliance with the Trinamool Congress has set off all sorts of speculation, with the result that Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmad has been dispatched to West Bengal with the mission to soothe the nerves of the state unit of the party. Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh is scheduled to meet Mamta Banerjee after January 20.

While Ahmad visit isnt high profile enough, Ramesh is expected to cool tempers down a bit in Writers Building. Two districts from West Bengal, Bankura and Purulia have been included in the Central governments Integrated Action Plan (IAP) to combat Maoism in the country. The minister will be visiting these areas and will also be meeting West Bengal chief minister while hes there, said a source.

Ramesh, when asked, did not confirm the dates of his visit, but did not deny that it was on the anvil. It is of course moot whether his visit will help matters, despite the ministers fluency in Bangla. CM Mamta Banerjee has been giving the short shrift to finance minister Pranab Mukherjee of late, even refusing to see him over the question of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi brand retail.

The Congress is jittery over the alliance and that seems to have set off talk of a tie up with the Samajwadi Party. Uttar Pradesh unit chief of the party Akhilesh Yadav said in Moradabad that any talk of tie ups can only happen after the UP Assembly poll results, he said.

His father and party president Mulayam Singh Yadav also said the party would continue to support the UPA. We dont want to pull down the government.

On the governments side the calculation is that the SP might emerge as the single largest party in the UP Assembly and would require the help of the Congress-Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance in the state to form a government. This would translate into an alliance at the Centre as well, with the state tie up providing stability. Banerjees alliance with the Congress is shaky precisely because she does not need support from the Congress to run her government .

Change is in the air after the UP Assembly polls, said a Congress back office man.