Mamata terms meeting with PM a courtesy call

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee during their meeting in New Delhi, July 27, 2021   | Photo Credit: PTI

A united Opposition against the BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections is a given, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said minutes after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Tuesday. She has also demanded a judicial probe into the Pegasus cyber attack.

Ms. Banerjee is in the Capital for her first visit in two years after winning the West Bengal Assembly elections for a third time. During her five-day visit, she will be meeting a host of Opposition leaders. Buoyed by her victory especially in the face of a resurgent BJP, Ms. Banerjee’s meetings with the Opposition parties is being seen as a definitive sign that the TMC wants to play a larger role in national politics.

‘Opposition unity will automatically happen’

“Opposition unity will automatically happen,” Ms. Banerjee said. Asked if she will lead such a consortium of Opposition parties she said, “India will lead and we shall follow.”

The Lok Sabha elections are still some time away, she said but the preparations have to begin right away.

On Pegasus, she urged the BJP government to call for an all-party meeting to clear the air on its role in the whole issue. “The Prime Minister should call for an all-party meeting and consult us. There should be a Supreme Court monitored probe.”

On meeting Mr. Modi, she said it was a courtesy call and that she was following the Constitutional protocol. “I had asked for an appointment with the PM to seek his blessings after winning the Bengal Assembly polls for the third time.” During the brief meeting, she said she has urged the Prime Minister to ensure more doses of COVID-19 vaccine for Bengal. “I am not against giving vaccines to other States, but considering the population of Bengal we need more doses,” she said.

She will be meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday. Ms. Banerjee also said she will be meeting Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav in the next few days.

Significant omission

The only significant omission in the list of Opposition leaders is NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar. Ms. Banerjee said she has not spoken to him so far. “I will speak to him and maybe we will meet once the COVID situation settles,” she said.

She has also sought an appointment from President Ramnath Kovind but Ms. Banerjee complained that protocol may come in the way. She said though she has got both doses of vaccine, she may need to get an RT PCR test too for the visit, which may be difficult.

She also met senior Congress leaders Kamal Nath, Anand Sharma and Abhishek Singhvi.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 11:04:56 PM |

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