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Mumbai suffers, Mamata campaigns

mumbai Updated: May 05, 2010 01:01 IST
HT Correspondent

When Mamata Banerjee was on a roll, Mumbai was slowly coming to a halt. The Union railways minister was in Kolkata, busy preparing for the decisive civic polls on May 30 from her south Kolkata residence.

Almost at the same time, Mumbai was in chaos. Local train drivers went on strike, leaving the metropolis stranded across its length and breadth.

Sources close to her said the Union minister and Trinamool Congress supremo was busy overseeing the process of filing nominations for the municipal elections in Bengal on May 30. Tuesday was the last date of filing nominations.

A senior Trinamool Congress leader, not authorised to comment officially, said Mamata was at the same time talking to members of the railway board about the strike.

“Didi has been inside her house since morning. She didn’t even go to her home office,” said the party leader. Although she was scheduled to take a flight to Delhi, she cancelled the trip.

The strike that virtually paralysed Mumbai rocked both houses of Parliament.

An absent Banerjee met with scorn from both the BJP and the Left for her conspicuous absence from the Lok Sabha.

When Delhi and Mumbai were abuzz with her absence, Banerjee was in her south Kolkata residence, working out things back

Party sources said she did not step out of her home even to brief the media on the strike or the uproar in Parliament, but kept track of it through Jayanta Saha, executive director of the railways public grievance cell.

Banerjee also kept in touch with leader of Trinamool Parliamentary party Sudip Bandopadhaya over the Lok Sabha proceedings, briefing him on what to say inside the House and to the media. “She kept a close watch on the entire situation over television. She had telephonic conferences with various members of the railway board,” said the senior Trinamool leader.