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HVK Archives: Cong pacifies Mamata on Sonia-Basu meet

Cong pacifies Mamata on Sonia-Basu meet - The Indian Express

Vijay Simha ()
November 17, 1998

Title: Cong pacifies Mamata on Sonia-Basu meet
Author: Vijay Simha
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: November 17, 1998

The Congress today tried to mollify Trinamool Congress chief
Mamata Banerjee after her criticism of the Sonia Gandhi-Jyoti
Basu meeting, saying that the Congress-CPM togetherness was on
secularism - an issue Mamata has already raised.

"We have to tell Mamata that the Congress and CPM are not coming
together. An invitation sent by the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial
Trust chairperson is not an invitation from the Congress
president," Congress spokesperson Mani Shankar Aiyar said today.
He added the Congress and the Left were "always together" on the
understanding that the BJP was the "political representation" of
communalism and it had to be fought.

Significantly, Aiyar played on secularism and West Bengal Chief
Minister Jyoti Basu's lecture in Teen Murti on November 14 but
didn't say anything on the meeting later between Sonia Gandhi
and Basu.

Today's line has two purposes: To keep Mamata happy by talking
of secularism as the main issue and not denying any betterment
of ties with the CPM which keeps the Left satisfied.

The basic plan the Congress is working on is to bring the
Opposition, and possibly some members of the ruling coalition,
together against the Babri Masjid demolition on December 6,
which comes a week after Parliament's winter session begins.

With BJP in power and Babri Masjid demolition anniversary
approaching, the Opposition is planning a large-scale protest.

The basic calculation being that, added to the Babri Masjid
protest, the results of the November 25 bound of elections in
the four stares will be advantageous to the Congress. The party
is banking on a 3-1 verdict, Delhi, Rajasthan and Mizoram being
possible victories, and this, it plans to market as a referendum
against the Centre's performance. Plans are afoot to make the
opening week of Parliament's winter session a period of protest
against the Union government on the twin counts of the November
25 poll results and the Babri Masjid demolition. Should the
protest build up mood against the BJP, the Opposition is
planning to move in for the kill.


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