Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi shared moments together, inquiring about each other’s health and strategising on opposition unity on the first day of the Bengaluru meet, sources told PTI.
The two leaders met each other after a gap of two years. The last time Ms Banerjee met Mrs Gandhi was at the latter’s residence in July 2021.
While the two leaders have always had a cordial relationship, certain comments made by Congress leaders both in Delhi and West Bengal were believed to have led to some bad blood between them.
Ms Banerjee, the sources said, was particularly upset about the remarks made by Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Congress’s Lok Sabha MP from Behrampore in West Bengal, labelling her as a dictator and the workers of her Trinamool Congress as goons.
Sources said both Ms Banerjee and Mrs Gandhi arrived at the venue of the summit at around 6 pm and were seen chatting with each other for about half an hour, before the meeting started.
They said both inquired about each other’s health – Ms Banerjee is recovering from a knee surgery and Mrs Gandhi too has had health issues.
Sources said the two leaders also sat next to each other during the meeting that lasted for around an hour-and-a-half and discussed ways in which their parties can work together and stay united against the ruling BJP at the Centre.
Ms Banerjee, who was supposed to skip dinner after the meeting due to her surgery, stayed on for some time after the deliberations but did not eat anything, sources said.
Trinamool national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee and national spokesperson Derek O’Brien attended the dinner after Ms Banerjee left.
The Congress and the Trinamool are likely play a major role in the coming days to cement the opposition unity. Mrs Gandhi had not attended the last opposition meeting held in Patna on June 23.
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