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Missed calls, unanswered SMS complete communication breakdown between Government and Trinamool Congress

Home minister P Chidambaram said efforts were made by the prime minister to contact West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, four days ago, on reforms but there was no response.

ET Bureau|
Sep 20, 2012, 05.00 AM IST
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NEW DELHI: Missed calls and messages have become the new bone of contention between the government and Trinamool Congress. Home minister P Chidambaram said efforts were made by the prime minister to contact West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, four days ago, on reforms but there was no response. Banerjee called this a concoction.

Lashing out at Congress, a day after announcing that her party was withdrawing support to the UPA, Banerjee refused to acknowledge that attempts were made to get in touch with her. "I was never informed of the decisions on allowing FDI in retail. I will request Congress leaders not to distort facts. They must communicate reality. If they wanted to talk, why they didn't talk," Banerjee asked reporters in Kolkata.

Banerjee claimed nobody from Delhi contacted her, "either before or after" decisions were taken. Railway minister Mukul Roy, who was with her at the press conference, said he had not received any message from the PMO to communicate to Banerjee.

Chidambaram said after a meeting of the Congress core group, "we tried to speak to her, four days ago. The prime minister tried to speak to her. We left the message to her that she can speak. We have not heard anything." Government sources said the PM wanted to explain to the Trinamool chief the rationale behind taking decisions to increase diesel price, capping subsidised LPG cylinders and allowing FDI in multi-brand retail.

Congress spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi said Sonia Gandhi tried to talk to Banerjee on Tuesday night but was unable to reach her. Congress said it had told Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy that Gandhi was keen to talk to the chief minister. According to Roy's version, Banerjee had sent an SMS to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi at 7 pm on Friday but there was no response.

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