West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is out to woo the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
Banerjee is hosting a first-of-its kind dinner party in New Delhi essentially to invite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s principal secretary Pulok Chatterjee.
In the dinner, to be hosted on November 24 at Trinamool’s office at South Avenue, ex-SPG chief and a key PMO aide BV Wanchoo has also been invited although he retired last month.
While Wanchoo, considered very close to the ruling UPA, is a West Bengal cadre IPS officer, Chatterjee, arguably the most important bureaucrat in the Capital, is an UP cadre Bengali IAS. Initially, the CM planned a dinner only for West Bengal cadre IAS and IPS officers posted in New Delhi. As railway minister, she hosted a similar dinner in 2010 for state-cadre officers.
Trinamool sources said, the guest list expanded on Saturday as Banerjee quickly figured that dinner for state cadre officers will leave Pulok Chatterjee out and may send a wrong signal at a time when her government is looking forward to a helping hand from the UPA brass.
Invitations are already sent to Chatterjee and others, Trinamool sources told HT.
While the dinner party is essentially aimed as a free-flowing social affair, Banerjee is likely to use this opportunity to seek support from the Capital’s “Bengal bureaucracy” to help her state.
Another key Bengal-cadre IAS, Sanjay Mitra, who served the PMO for almost six years, returned to Kolkata as the health secretary in July.
Incidentally, chief minister Banerjee also holds the health portfolio in the Bengal cabinet.
Trinamool leaders pointed out that in her dinner party as the railway minister, Banerjee sought the help of officers stationed at New Delhi to get early clearances and help in railway projects for West Bengal.