By BS Reporter
Of political partnerships and part-time counselling The mercurial friendship between Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee, also the Railway minister, and Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee may now be warming again after months of bickering and, incidentally, the recent resignation of the latter as the president of the Congress party in West Bengal.
The two came together on Friday, along with minister of state for shipping Mukul Roy and Kolkata's new mayor Sovan Chatterjee, for the signing for a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT), Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and the Railways consultancy arm RITES for the beautification of the city's riverfront.
And if there had been any love lost between Banerjee and United Progressive Alliance's chief troubleshooter Mukherjee — through the bickering over the Union Budget, the pre-election consternation in West Bengal and the raucousness over recent fuel price hike — the reconciliation was apparently complete.
They addressed each other, without formality, as 'Dada' and 'Mamata'; the senior Congress leader, among the busiest in the domestic political realm, was officially thanked by his junior cabinet colleague for "taking time out of his busy schedule"; and, in line with typical TMC style, Mukherjee took a dig at the incumbent Left Front government, albeit tacitly.
"(From the Centre) a lot of money has been given but we have seen that the money hasn't been spent. To save the money, instead of spending it on development, is harmful. After all, the Centre makes the policy, but the state government is the implementing agency," said Mukherjee, sitting at a head table bereft of any West Bengal government official.
But, as per Banerjee's wish that the finance minister "guide" them, it was the veteran politician who had the final word: "Many times, we start projects but never finish them. This time, though, I hope that this project starts, is finished and utilised properly".