Mamata Banerjee skips cabinet meeting, gives excuse
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee today skipped a meeting of the cabinet committee on political affairs that decided on imposing President's rule in Jharkhand, but denied any friction in the ruling United Progressive Alliance.india Updated: Jun 01, 2010 17:21 IST
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday skipped a meeting of the cabinet committee on political affairs that decided on imposing President's rule in Jharkhand, but denied any friction in the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
“There are no differences between the Trinamool Congress and the Congress. We are absolutely comfortable,” the Trinamool Congress chief told reporters in New Delhi, downplaying her absence from the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The minister said the cabinet meeting was "only for Jharkhand” and she didn't attend it because she had “some serious job” to attend to.
With 19 MPs, the Trinamool Congress is the second largest constituent of the UPA after the Congress.
Banerjee's absence from the cabinet comes a day after Home Minister P Chidambaram contradicted her view on the Jhargram train disaster which she sought to blame on her political rivals in West Bengal.
She had demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the Friday disaster that killed 145 people. However, Chidambaram said the train derailed apparently after sabotage by Maoist guerrillas or a front organisation of the extremists.
Asked if she was upset over the home minister's statement, Banerjee said: “It is not so. I have good relations with Chidambaram. I have no quarrel with the home minister. We have asked the home minister to do it (a CBI inquiry). (The) government will do it according to the procedure.
“I don't know who has done it. Whoever has done it, whether Maoists or others, I want the truth to come out. We want the CBI to investigate.”
She said some people were conspiring against the UPA by “spreading rumours”.
“They want to create some confusion between the two parties (Congress and Trinamool) but I can assure you there is no difference between the Trinamool and the government.
"I am part and parcel of the UPA and have some obligatons and duties,” she said.