Tale lies in the tail, CM

Basant Kumar Mohanty

New Delhi, Nov. 2: If the sender is Jairam Ramesh and the receiver Mamata Banerjee, it may be better to read the last sentence first.

The Union minister has again lived up to his reputation of signing off with a flourish, reminding the Bengal chief minister this time that the Centre has indeed built "a good working relationship" with one of her ministers. The comments came at a time the Trinamul Congress has withdrawn support to the Congress-led UPA-II government after months of sparring over several issues.

"I assure you of our continued cooperation in the implementation of rural development schemes in the state. I am marking a copy of this letter to Shri Subrata Mukherjee, Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj with whom we have been able to build a good working relationship," Ramesh wrote in the letter in which he informed Mamata of central approval for a cluster of road projects in Bengal under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.

The choice of words in the last paragraph of another letter Ramesh had sent to Mamata had prompted an angry response from the chief minister.

"Incidentally, may I add that this reflects how sensitive the so-called 'brain-dead government in Delhi' is to the needs of the people of West Bengal," Ramesh had written, borrowing the vegetative epithet from comments attributed to Mamata.

The chief minister had dubbed the comments "clearly vindictive, unethical and unconstitutional", uploaded a copy of the letter on Facebook and invited public opinion on it. Today, however, Mamata made no comments.

Today's letter added a more personal touch and a superlative to the first and last lines. The letter began with "My dear Mamataji" and ends with "very warm personal regards".

The previous letter had started with "Dear Mamataji" and signed off with "warm personal regards".

In the latest communication, Ramesh said Bengal would get central funds for 13,000km of roads in 2012-13, almost equal to what the state got under the project in the past 10 years.