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Congress Peeved At Mamata's Absence In PM's Programme

PTI 16 Jan 2010, 16:58:47 PM IST

Congress on Saturday expressed anguish at Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee's absence in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's engagements at Science City and described her public outbursts against UPA government policies as "an embarrassment".

"It is sheer embarrassment for the Congress party when a major ally of the UPA government, particularly its seven ministers in the Union ministry, criticises central government policies in public and it is regrettable that Railway Minister stays away from Prime Minister's function," a 37-member WBPCC delegation told Singh at Raj Bhavan.

State Congress legislature party leader Manas Bhuniya told PTI that the delegation during its 45-minute audience with the prime minister pointed out it was unfortunate that the railway minister preferred to "stay away" from his programmes in the city and even decided not to meet him. 

"It is ridiculous too that seven ministers in the Union ministry have been publicly vocal against the UPA government and bringing out processions," Bhuniya said. Bhuniya said the prime minister had heard them (the delegation) with rapt attention, but refrained from commenting.

Banerjee was earlier reported to have decided to stay away from any programme of the prime minister "which is attended by Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee". either Banerjee nor any of her party leader was available for comment.

The PCC delegation, which included two working presidents Pradip Bhattacharya and Subrata Mukherjee, told Singh that the WBPCC had expected Banerjee to meet him while he was in the city.

"Instead, Banerjee busies herself with party programmes," the delegation members said.

The TC chief today led a procession of her party workers and sympathisers in the metropolis from S C Mullick Square in the south to Esplanade in the heart of the city to project issues like price rise and law and order problem in left-ruled West Bengal. PTI