Mamata calls on Basu

KOLKATA: 14 Jun 2009-Trinamool Congress chief and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday called on Communist Party of India (Marxist) patriarch Jyoti Basu at his Salt Lake residence, saying that she wanted to pay a courtesy visit to a senior leader.

The CPI(M) patriarch congratulated the Trinamool Congress chief on her election victory and said he wanted her "co-operation". He also hoped that the Trinamool Congress would play its role of an Opposition. “I will not be there to watch the next election.” Basu told Mamata.

"I told him (Basu) I had no political issues. He told me he would not be there in the coming Assembly elections. I felt someone had prompted him to say these words," Coming out of Basu’s house, Banerjee told mediapersons: “I wanted to talk politics with Basu. But the presence of someone inside his room prevented me. I simply wished him a speedy recovery... I admire Jyoti Basu, his health is better and therefore I decided to meet him.” Mamata, was accompanied by Mukul Roy and Partho Chattarjee.

It was Ramola Chakraborty, wife of the State Transport Minister Subhas Chakraborty, who was present inside Basu’s room. She left only after Mamata’s departure. Ramola, when contacted, said she did not know about Mamata’s visit as it was unscheduled. As Basu’s personal secretary is on leave she has been visiting him at least twice a day, she said, adding that she just happened to be in the room when Mamata came in.

Mamata last visited Basu on June 5, 2007, to discuss Nandigram and Singur on the latter’s invitation. Later, Mamata called on former chief minister Siddhar-tha Shankar Ray and briefed him about the law and order situation in the state.