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Mamata Banerjee pays ailing Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee a visit; offers help

On Monday evening, Mamata Banerjee spent about seven minutes at Bhattacharjee’s tiny government apartment and inquired about his health.

kolkata Updated: Oct 16, 2017 21:47 IST
Tanmay Chatterjee
Tanmay Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee,Mamata Banerjee,CPI(M)
Former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has not been well since last week. (HT File Photo)

Former Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee got a surprise on Monday evening when his successor Mamata Banerjee paid a visit to the communist leader’s tiny two-room apartment to inquire about his health. Seventy-three-year-old Bhattacharjee has not been well for the past few days.

This is the first time Banerjee met Bhattacharjee on unofficial business. The bitter feelings the two leaders developed for each other became an open secret during the height of the land movement in Nandigram and Singur in mid- 2000s. In fact, Bhattacharjee doesn’t mention Mamata’s name at public meetings even now.

Read: Ailing ex-CM Buddhadeb to lend power to CPI-M campaign against Mamata

Once a chain smoker, Bhattacharjee is suffering from respiratory problems for several years and now stays indoors most of the time on doctor’s advice. He fell ill last week during one of his routine morning visits to the CPI(M) state headquarters at Alimuddin Street. He started bleeding through the nose and doctors had to be summoned.

On Monday evening Banerjee spent about seven minutes at the government apartment on Palm Avenue in south Kolkata. Bhattacharjee’s wife, Meera, was present in the house. The chief minister reportedly inquired about Bhattacharjee’s health and said she would ask her officers to make arrangements if he needed any help. The chief minister reached the house at 7.05 pm and left at 7.12 pm. Police officers said she had called up earlier to inquire about Bhattacharjee’s health.

Read: The blindfolded visionary of Bengal

CPI(M) leaders at Alimuddin Street said Bhattacharjee’s condition was stable and reports of tests done on him did not show anything alarming. Since he refuses to be admitted to a hospital doctors have asked him to take rest and stay at home.

Interestingly, Banerjee and CPI(M) patriarch Jyoti Basu shared a cordial relationship although they were political rivals. Every year Banerjee used to visit Basu’s Salt Lake residence with gifts on his birthday and seek his blessings by touching his feet. She visited Basu even when he was admitted at a private hospital in Salt Lake where he subsequently died in July 2010.

First Published: Oct 16, 2017 21:47 IST