Mamata to meet Modi on Wednesday to discuss BSF jurisdiction, funds due to State

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Amidst heightened political tensions in Tripura and protests by the Trinamool Congress MPs outside the Home Ministry office in Delhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday left for a four-day visit to the national capital.

This is the second visit of Trinamool chairperson to Delhi after the West Bengal Assembly polls in which her party had registered a thumping victory over the Bharatiya Janata Party.

She is also likely to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.


“I am going to Delhi today [Monday] because day after tomorrow, I have an appointment with the Prime Minister on the BSF issue and other development issues related to West Bengal,” she told journalists before leaving for Delhi. She accused the Union Government of using Central forces for the benefit of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“The BSF is not my enemy. But the BJP thinks that the BSF is BJP. Law and order is a State subject and apart from the State police, there are so many agencies and all have their respective jurisdiction.”

The recent notification by the Union Home Ministry extending the BSF’s jurisdiction from 15 km to 50 km along the border has become a flashpoint between the Centre and the State Government. The Trinamool Government passed a resolution in the Assembly urging the Centre to withdraw the notification.

The other issue which Ms. Banerjee is likely to discuss is the State’s pending funds with the Centre. The Chief Minister has blamed the Centre for not making enough funds available to the State particularly after West Bengal bore the burnt of the natural calamities like cyclones and floods.

Won’t join dharna, says Mamata

The Chief Minister said she will meet her party MPs who have been protesting outside the office of Union Home Ministry since Monday morning.

“I will not join the dharna but I am going to meet the MPs to express solidarity to their protest. I don’t know why the horror is going on in Tripura. Since yesterday [Sunday], the MPs have been seeking an appointment with the Home Minister and so far they have been denied that,” Ms. Banerjee said. She said even mediapersons are not allowed to work freely in Tripura.

Ms. Banerjee’s visit comes ahead of the winter session of Parliament and she is likely to meet the leaders of the Opposition parties. After her earlier visit in the last week of July, the TMC has made inroads into Tripura and Goa.

One of the highlights of the visit in July was the meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi. In the past few months, a number of leaders of the Congress, including former Mahila Morcha president Sushmita Dev and former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro, have joined the TMC. It will be interesting to watch whether the Congress leadership will reach out to Ms. Banerjee or she will reach out to senior Congress leaders.

The visit also comes days after the Prime Minister has announced the repeal of the three farm laws. Ms. Banerjee had extended support to the protesting farmers and sent several delegations of party MPs to meet the farmers. The TMC chairperson, who rose to power in West Bengal championing the cause of farmers protesting against forcible land acquisition, may also meet a few leaders of the farmers’ movement.

Moreover, two visits to the national capital in less than six months also indicates the growing ambitions of the TMC as it is keen on presenting itself as a pan-Indian party.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 11:39:12 AM |

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