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Mamata in Mumbai, to meet Pawar on December 1

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she will meet eminent personalities at a programme, which is being organised by Javed Akhtar and Sudheendra Kulkarni. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday began a three-day tour of Maharashtra by visiting the Shri Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai.

Ms. Banerjee, on her first day of the visit, held a meeting with Shiv Sena leader and Minister Aaditya Thackeray and Sena Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut at a hotel in south Mumbai. Mr. Raut said she inquired about the health of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who recently underwent a surgery. “She wanted to meet him, but the meeting is not happening due to health restrictions,” he remarked.

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The TMC chief will be meeting Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar on Wednesday afternoon at the latter’s residence. He had not met her few months ago in Delhi which, he later claimed, was because of his pre-decided schedule. Political strategist Prashant Kishore who has been working with the TMC has in the past held meetings with Mr. Pawar.

The TMC has also forayed into Goa politics, where Assembly elections are due in the coming months and the NCP too has its presence in the Goa House. Both the NCP and the TMC will be contesting the coming polls and discussions between the two are likely to range over national as well as regional issues.

Ms. Banerjee’s party has been keeping away from the Opposition meetings in Delhi during the winter session of Parliament. Both the leaders are likely to discuss strategy and alliance possibilities at the national level. Mr. Pawar, however, had said that an Opposition front cannot be formed without the Congress.

‘Pawar very senior leader’

Talking to journalists in Kolkata before her departure to Mumbai, Ms. Banerjee described Mr. Pawar as a “very senior leader of the country.”

She said she would not be able to meet Mr. Uddhav Thackeray as he is in hospital. “Yes, I was interested to meet Uddhav Thackeray, but he is not well. He is in a hospital and doctors have advised him not to meet anyone because of infection,” she stated.

Ms. Banerjee would meet members of civil society at an event organised by Javed Akhtar and Sudhendra Kulkarni.

Meeting with entrepreneurs

She also informed about participating in a meeting with YPO (Young President Organisation), a global network of entrepreneurs . She would extend an invite to entrepreneurs to attend the next session of the Bengal Global Business Summit, which is likely to be held in January 2022.

Ms. Banerjee ruled out any meeting with members of the film industry. She would extend an invite to Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan for the Kolkata International Film Festival.

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Though Ms. Banerjee had visited Mumbai in the past and met key political leaders and business leaders like Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, this visit has assumed significance in the political circles.

After resuming power for the third consecutive time in the Assembly polls earlier this year, she visited New Delhi twice, the last one being less than 10 days ago.

The Mumbai visit comes at a time when the Trinamool Congress is trying to project Ms. Banerjee as the face of the Opposition to take on the BJP in 2024 Lok Sabha polls. A number of leaders from the Congress in States such as Goa, Meghalaya and Assam and Tripura have joined the Trinamool Congress, which recently announced a decision to change its constitution to make way for leaders from outside West Bengal in its key committees

(With inputs from Shiv Sahay in Kolkata)

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 8:11:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/mamata-banerjee-on-trip-to-mumbai-to-address-industrialists-meet-sharad-pawar-aditya-thackeray/article37768520.ece

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