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Mamata, Karat face off in UK

Arch political rivals, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee will battle for hearts and minds at a faraway venue later this month: Cambridge University in Britain.

delhi Updated: Oct 07, 2010 00:38 IST
Srinand Jha

Arch political rivals, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee will battle for hearts and minds at a faraway venue later this month: Cambridge University in Britain.

Karat is scheduled to speak at the university on October 22 on the continuing relevance of the Left movement in India. Three days later Mamata will speak at the same venue on the demise of the Left in India.

It was at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford that a number of India's top leaders had their introduction to Communist ideology — from CPI(M) stalwarts such as late West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu and ex-Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to CPI leaders like former home minister Indrajit Gupta.

Karat, who studied further north, at Edinburgh University, was keen to avoid being bracketed with Mamata.

"I'm going to attend a memorial meeting for a professor who taught me. It is by mere chance the function is being held at Cambridge University," he said.

Mamata's UK visit will also include a field trip along the South Bank of the Thames in pursuit of her pet project of turning Kolkata into another London, a meeting with Indian investors and a Rabindra Sangeet programme.