Trinamool, CPI-M to be kept away from Ray’s condolence meet


Kolkata: After a tiff between the Congress and its ally Trinamool Congress over the political legacy of former West Bengal chief minister S.S. Ray, the state Congress has decided to keep both Trinamool and the ruling Marxists away from the condolence meet it has organised Sunday.

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“We have invited those people who were members of Siddhartha Shankar Ray’s ministry during his tenure as the chief minister of Bengal. Congress workers and leaders have also been invited,” said state Congress unit spokesman Professor Om Prakash Mishra.

Another Congress leader said on condition of anonymity that no political party – be it the Trinamool or the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) – has been invited to the condolence meeting.

“Everybody is welcome. But we have not sent any official invitation to leader of any other party save his (Ray’s) ministerial colleagues in the state and the centre. No invitation has been sent to Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee also,” the leader said.

Observers feel that the state Congress leadership’s decision not to extend any formal invitation to Banerjee was taken out of apprehension that she was likely to snub the party by not attending it.

At the same time, the Congress would have been in an embarrassing situation had the CPI-M leaders decided to attend the programme while UPA partner Banerjee opted to stay out.

The Congress and the Trinamool Congress had squabbled over Ray’s funeral procession, which was controlled by Trinamool. Mamata Banerjee’s party virtually elbowed out the Congress from the proceedings. The body was not even taken to the state Congress headquarters, despite a personal request from state party chief Manas Bhunia.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will be the main speaker at the condolence meeting.