This will be their first meeting after the BJP returned to power at the Centre in May this year.
Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday afternoon in the wake of the CBI’s heat on her government to hunt senior IPS officer Rajeev Kumar, one of her favourite officers, for his suspected role in the Saradha chit fund scam. She will leave for New Delhi on Tuesday evening.
This will be their first meeting after the BJP returned to power at the Centre in May this year. The last time they faced each other was at the convocation ceremony at Visva Bharati University in Santiniketan on May 25 last year during Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina Wajed’s visit there.
Ms Banerjee’s coming meeting with Mr Modi came to light only a day after the CBI sent a team to the chief minister’s workplace at Nabanna, the state secertariat, to deliver letters to three top state bureaucrats to trace Mr Kumar, who is missing since the Calcutta high court withdrew his pre-arrest protection last week.
The CBI team’s visit sent alarm bells ringing in the corridors of power. Sources at Nabanna, the state secretariat, claimed that Ms Banerjee had sought an appointment with Mr Modi last week. Subsequently, their meeting has been scheduled at
The sources said the meeting will be focused on the implementation of some development and welfare projects in the state, besides administrative issues. The Trinamul Congress supremo is also expected to raise some key demands, like financial assistance and grants from the Centre.
She may meet leaders of other parties also before returning to the state on Thursday. It is, however, not clear if the CBI probe in the chit fund scams will also come up for discussion with the PM as Ms Banerjee has repeatedly accused the BJP government of trying to intimidate her party leaders through such agencies to toe the saffron party’s line.
After Mr Modi became PM again, the TMC chief’s tone of attack on him and Union home minister Amit Shah also changed. In fact, references to Mr Modi and Mr Shah almost vanished from her speeches.
BJP leader Mukul Roy commented cautiously on the meeting between Mr Modi and Ms Banerjee. “A CM can meet the PM in our country’s federal structure. It is up to the PM to give time for the appointment. No political party should make any comment on it. The CM has already made plans to visit Delhi. Her meet with the PM is at the government level,” he said.