Burying the hatchet in action

Mamata Banerjee

Body language: Governor, CM share dais, speak with smiles, pats and embraces

They met, shared and the dais and displayed bonhomie. Governor M K Narayanan and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday signaled the end of a bitter controversy between the state government and its constitutional head over the recent political violence in West Bengal at a public event to inaugurate Vivekananda Youth Festival in Kolkata.

Narayanan, who had termed the recent political violence at Bhangar as goondaism and that one of the closest aides of Mamata and minister Subrata Mukherjee to dare the Governor to sack the Trinamool government, was today seen speaking with Mamata in a cordial manner, touching her hands, patting her at times and even taking her into a cordial embrace. Mamata too was seen reciprocating with words of appreciation for Narayanan.

Addressing the gathering of 70,000-odd students at Salt Lake Stadium, the chief minister repeatedly appreciated the governor for "his august presence". At the fag end of the programme, she was seen escorting Narayanan to his car. She got into her own car after Narayanan left the stadium. "We are overwhelmed with the presence of the honorable governor at the programme," she said, signaling that the state government wants to end the ongoing controversy.

A senior minister of the cabinet later told The Sunday Express that neither the chief minister nor the state government has any difference on any matter with the governor.

The display of warmth came a day after Mamata dropped Mukherjee from from the list of spokespersons of the state government. Trinamool sources said Mukherjee's remarks against Narayanan evoked massive criticism against the state government forcing the chief minister to take stern action against him.

The minister was also conspicious by his absence at today's event. Mukherjee, who holds the portfolio of panchayat minister, skipped the Youth Festival which was attended by all the ministers. When contacted, Mukherjee said he could not attend the event as he was "busy supervising the preparation for the Gangasagar mela" at Sagar. "My department is the nodal agency which organises the fair. I have come to Sagar to see the preparation. This is not true that I skipped the Youth Festival deliberately," Mukherjee told The Sunday Express over phone.

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