CM’s Surprise Visit To Ex-CM; Offers Help

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Kolkata: 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.

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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 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

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.

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