After Nandigram MLA Suvendu Adhikari, the state forest minister, Rajib Banerjee, continued to be a cause of embarrassment for the party as he skipped a party programme in Howrah today and rows of posters depicting him alongside former transport and irrigation minister Mr Adhikari reportedly put up by his aides, fuelled speculation in political circles of his going down the same parth as his former cabinet colleague.

Mr Banerjee had caused a flutter in the ruling Trinamul Congress recently after declaring “As I don’t believe in sycophancy, naturally number is less and those who are corrupt are in the front rows”, at an “apolitical” programme he attended.

Today, he gave the party programme “Banga Janani” organised by the Howrah district Trinamul Congress a miss, causing misgivings in the party of his going the same way as the Nandigram MLA, who had made himself unavailable for party as well as govt programmes before relinquishing his post as the state cabinet minister. Asked to comment on Mr Banerjee’s absence from the party programme, Lakshmi Ratan Shukla, Howrah district Trinamul Congress president, quipped that everybody has some work to do. “He might have some work that is why he could not attend the programme”.

Meanwhile, a source in the ruling party said that the top leadership of the party has called Mr Banerjee for a meeting, which, the source said the Domjur MLA had accepted.

The meeting, which the source said would be held shortly, will likely discuss ways for a possible patch-up and address the issues that concern Mr Banerjee before it gets beyond the party’s control.