NEW DELHI: As strains with the Trinamool Congress persisted, Congress and the government today extended an olive branch to Mamata Banerjee expressing readiness to hold consultations on contentious issues.
The AICC also asked its leaders in West Bengal not to use harsh words against TMC workers and also appealed to workers from the latter to reciprocate.
Addressing the media here separately, Home Minister P Chidambaram also said the government will consult all UPA allies, including Trinamool Congress to ensure that crucial bills are passed.
When told that it was Mamata Banerjee's opposition that saw the government backing out on FDI in multi-brand retail, Chidambaram said the government will "fine-tune" the policy.
Maintaining that Trinamool Congress has "some reservations" on the bill, he said, "We do consult allies. We will consult all our allies and that includes Trinamool Congress. We are here to get the legislations passed."
Congress in-charge for West Bengal Shakeel Ahmed described Mamata as a "valued ally" and stressed that no party leader ever said that Congress will dump Trinamool Congress after the Uttar Pradesh elections.
The Congress high command also wanted the Trinamool Congress to see reason that the tension between the local leaders of the two parties will only benefit CPI-M led Left front, which has been ousted from power in the state after three decades, sources in the party said.
Congress leadership is "hurt" by the repeated attack from Mamata, a senior party leader speaking on the condition of anonymity said. "We are not saying it but it does not mean we are not feeling hurt," he said.
The party has called West Bengal PCC chief Pradip Bhattacharya here for consultation on the issue on Jan 16 in the wake of strained ties with Banerjee's party.
Asked about the government's initiatives taken after the Winter session to build consensus on the Lokpal bill issue, Chidambaram said, "We have studied the amendments and we have classified them. We will talk to them (allies and Opposition)."
While making it clear that all the 187 amendments moved for the proposed legislation cannot be accepted as it will make the bill unrecognizable, the Home Minister indicated that the differences particularly with Trinamool Congress over the issue are "not unbridgeable".