A day after putting ally Congress in an embarrassing position with her apparent support to Maoists, railway minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has managed to rub another ally the wrong way. Banerjee has come to the aid of AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa, allowing her the use of a railway ground for a mass rally in Tiruchi on August 14.
The AIADMK has alleged the DMK government in Tamil Nadu ordered local authorities to prevent her rally, using the excuse of crowding. This refusal obviously didn’t mean much to Banerjee — she gave the green signal when Jayalalitha’s pointsman, AIADMK’s Rajya Sabha MP V. Maitreyan, approached her last week.
Banerjee — whose ties with Jayalalitha go back to when the two supported the A.B. Vajpayee government in 1998 — called up Railway Board officials to expedite the mandatory clearance, which was done immediately.
Later, the AIADMK paid R95,000 as rent for use of the ground for a day on August 14 as per railway norms. Banerjee’s decision comes as a big relief to Jayalalitha.
The rally in Tiruchi is a big deal for the AIADMK chief, who like Banerjee has gone for “rally politics” to showcase her party’s revival to take on the DMK.
Tamil Nadu, like West Bengal, goes to polls in May 2011.