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In Photo: Mamata Banerjee (5th from right) beside ABP group head Avik Sarkar at the ABP Ananda Sera Bangali 2015 award ceremony on Friday evening. Photo tweeted by @abpanandatv

Newsmen Bureau

Kolkata, 22 August: POLITICS is often blamed of not maintaining a permanent friend or enemy! But notwithstanding the overused cliché, the adage perhaps holds true for all spheres of life ~ from profession to business and so on.

The stage of ABP Ananda Sera Bangali 2015 ~ an event organised by Bengal’s largest media group Ananda Bazar Patrika to fete Bengali achievers every year~ saw a live manifestation of this on Friday evening.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee graced the annual gala yesterday after a gap of three years since 2011, when she was conferred the Serar Sera or the best of bests Bengali after she had ousted the Left from Bengal’s power through years of relentless struggle.

But it was not very soon after that the relationship between Miss Banerjee and the ABP group soured after their flagship newspaper Ananda Bazar Patrika started publishing news and views critical of the various decisions and conduct of the Trinamool Congress government.

The newspaper has been critical of Mamata Banerjee government’s move specifying a list of newspapers for subscription by state-funded libraries, CM’s controversial observation tagging the Park Street gang-rape a “concocted one” or the state government’s lackadaisical response in the Kamduni rape and murder case etc.

So much so that Miss Banerjee advised people during open meeting not to watch ABP Ananada or read Ananda Bazar Patrika alleging that they were running propaganda against her government not for any public interest, but over vested interest concerning the control of some prime land in and around Kolkata.

ABP too has been continuing with bringing each and every move of the Trinamool government under scanner. To add to the pinch, the group had last year conferred a Sera Bangali 2014 award on Bengal’s former state election commissioner Mira Pande, who has been a known Mamata adversary throughout her tenure.

Thus, Miss Banerjee turning up at the Sera Bangali 2015 stage at ITC Sonal hotel off EM Bypass Friday evening, left a lot many very surprised. It is not immediately known whether ABP had invited her to the past three editions of the event as well and she preferred to skip or it was the other way around.

At the award venue yesterday, Miss Banerjee and ABP group’s head Avik Sarkar sat next to each other, and was also seen interacting.

When the programme’s lead anchor, ABP Ananda’s poster-boy Suman Dey later invited her to the stage and urged her to speak, Miss Banerjee could not resist telling that she was pleased to meeting them after a long gap and this made the entire audience to break into an instant laughter.

Later during the concluding photo-op with all the awardees, Miss Banerjee stood next to the group head Mr Sarkar.

The event yesterday, which was 11th edition of the ABP Ananda Sera Bangali, was also attended by Md Salim of the CPI-M and BJP state president Rahul Sinha.