At Cong doorstep? Mitra doesn't care

Dec. 20: Trinamul MP Somen Mitra, whose wife Shikha was recently suspended for anti-party activities, today attended a Murshidabad Congress leader's family programme, saying he did "not care" about his party's Lakshman rekha.

The Congress saw a "positive signal" in Mitra's move, while Trinamul took a "serious note" of it.

Mitra, who attended the shradh of the mother-in-law of Murshidabad Congress MP Mannan Hossain in Behrampore, said when asked if he would visit a CPM leader's house: "If a CPM leader known to me dies, I will visit his bereaved family. This is my social responsibility. My personal relationships come before politics."

Told about the Lakshman rekha drawn by some Trinamul leaders, Mitra sounded dismissive. "I don't care about the party Lakshman rekha-takshman rekha."

In April, food minister Jyotipriya Mullick had called for a social boycott of CPM workers.

Asked if he had risked incurring Mamata Banerjee's displeasure, Mitra said: "I may have left the Congress to join Trinamul but I have relations with Congress leaders. I built the Congress organisation in Murshidabad in 1977."

A Congress leader said Mitra was "renewing his ties" with the party he left in 2008 to join Trinamul.

"Of late, he is being seen at Congress events. This is a positive signal," said Congress chief spokesperson Abdul Mannan.

Burrabazar Congress chief Santosh Pathak said: "We have a feeling that the day is not far when Somenda will return to the Congress."

A Trinamul general secretary said the leadership had taken a "serious note" of "Mitra's relations with the Congress" at a time Mamata Banerjee has severed ties with it.

A Trinamul MP said Mitra was nursing a grudge after being sidelined in the party. "He got even more upset after his wife's suspension," the leader said.

Mitra resented the way the party suspended Shikha "without furnishing any reason".