Bhagabanpur (WB): Amidst strains between the two allies, Pranab Mukherjee and Mamata Banerjee on Friday shared a dais at a programme here where the Union Finance Minister showered praise on West Bengal Chief Minister for her initiative for a flood control project.

Lauding her as 'jananetri" (mass leader), Mukherjee said here in East Midnapore district that she had the power to attract people. "Wherever she goes, people throng the venue."

Praising Banerjee for finding a permanent solution for flood control measures fulfilling a long-standing demand of the people in the district, Mukherjee said she was present despite running a temperature.

Strains had appeared in the relations between the Congress and Trinamool Congress over various issues including allocation of central funds for West Bengal.

The Trinamool Congress, a key UPA ally had also joined the Opposition chorus against Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma for his minority subquota remarks in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh and had even approached the Election Commission on the issue.

Mukherjee said,"During monsoon, people residing in the area are affected by flood every year. In the 2010-11 budget when Banerjee was the railway minister and Bengal was in the cusp of a political change, I had announced that prevention of erosion of major rivers like Keleghai-Kopaleshwari and Padma-Ganga will be taken up as a national programme."

He said that the flood control measures of the three rivers of Keleghai, Kopaleshwari and Baghai would cost Rs 650 crore.

"The Centre will provide 75 percent of the cost and the state the rest. The project will be completed in three years," he said.

In the presence of Mukherjee and Union Water Resources minister Pawan Bansal, Banerjee who sought special funds from the Centre to overcome the financial crunch, said, "Despite paucity of funds, we are keeping up development activities and new projects are being taken up."