The swearing-in ceremony of the Trinamool Congress-Congress ministry in politically polarised West Bengal here Friday presented a rare sight - new Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sharing the same public space with her predecessor Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Left Front chairman Biman Bose.
Bhattacharjee and other Left leaders decided to attend the swearing-in ceremony after Banerjee sent her close lieutenants to their homes and offices Thursday to invite them.
While senior leader Partha Chatterjee went to Bhattacharjee's residence, union minister Mukul Roy went to the offices of Left parties such as the Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party and the Communist Party of India.
Before that, former speaker and expelled Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Somnath Chatterjee - who had campaigned for the Left Front during the recent assembly polls - sent a missive congratulating Banerjee. She too responded by calling on the octogenarian at his residence.
Months into its victory in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the Trinamool Congress had announced "non-cooperation" against the then communist-led Left Front government at all levels, alleging that it was killing opposition activists.
The polarisation was pretty much complete.
Banerjee and Bhattacharjee have seldom met face-to-face -- just two rounds of meetings in September 2008 at the height of the Singur crisis.
Banerjee, then spearheading the anti-land acquisition movement against the Tata Nano plant at Singur, and the chief minister of the day first met at Raj Bahvan during a talks brokered by then governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi.
Five days later, the two held parleys at the Calcutta Information Centre, but the talks broke down over the quantum of land to be returned to the farmers from whom land had been allegedly acquired by force.
The two meetings had only increased the animosity between the two, the rhetoric sharp and unforgiving. If Banerjee called the then chief minister as nervous and lacking in confidence, he said her ideas about ancillary industries were akin to setting up "discotheques" and "beauty parlours".