The Congress on Sunday made clear its displeasure on any move by Mamata Banerjee to attend the swearing in ceremony of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal but quickly played down the issue after the Trinamool leader decided to send only her representative to Chandigarh.
"Social interactions with strangers by those in partnerships is permissible, but obviously if things go beyond the normal boundaries of social courtesy, it would become immoral," party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said earlier today on Mamata possibly attending Badal's oath ceremony.
However as Trinamool MP Derek O' Brien said that Mamata has asked West Bengal Tourism Minister Rachpal Singh to represent her in Punjab, Singhvi said, "These are social courtesies which frequently happen in politics."
"I don't understand why either her going or not going should make news in this manner. These are social courtesies which frequently happen in politics. Either her going or not going should not be read with as if pregnant with all kinds of meaning," the Congress spokesperson said.
Brien, who refused to comment on Singhvi's earlier remarks, said, "I just spoke to Mamatadi. She was keen to make the trip to Chandigarh and Lucknow but now she will be in West Bengal on the opening day of the Assembly for the Governor's address."
Banerjee's decision not to attend the ceremonies came after Congress virtually told her not to cross the 'Laxman rekha', reminding the Trinamool chief that any interaction with NDA allies "beyond the normal boundaries of social courtesy, will become immoral".
Banerjee's party is the second largest constituent of the UPA after Congress. She had joined regional leaders like Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in criticising central government for infringing upon the federal structure of the country leading to talk of "Fourth Front".