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Mamata Banerjee meets Amit Shah, clarifies stand on NRC in West Bengal

On a three-day visit to Delhi, Mamata Banerjee refused to answer any “political” questions over her meeting with PM Modi and insisted that it was a “government to government” meeting and discussion was mostly on development issues of Bengal.

Edited by: India TV News Desk New Delhi Updated on: September 19, 2019 14:11 IST
Mamata Banerjee meets Amit Shah
Image Source : ANI

Mamata Banerjee meets Amit Shah in Delhi

A day after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi on Thursday. "I handed over a letter to him (HM Amit Shah), told him that of the 19 Lakh people left out of NRC, many are Hindi speaking, Bengali speaking and local Assamese," Banerjee said after meeting Amit Shah. 

"Many genuine voters have been left out. This should be looked into. I submitted an official letter," she added. 

Banerjee further said, "He did not say anything about NRC in West Bengal. I have already clarified my stand that NRC is not needed in West Bengal."

Before her meet, Banerjee said she was keen to move on from the recriminations of the Lok Sabha poll campaign between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s top leadership and herself.

Mamata Banerjee had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday and had raised the issue of change of West Bengal's name into "Bangla". She said she would again try to press the matter further by raising it in her meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah.

The state has been trying to change the name primarily to get early central assistance.

Due to its position in the alphabetical order, West Bengal's turn comes right at the end.

On a three-day visit to Delhi, Mamata Banerjee refused to answer any “political” questions over her meeting with PM Modi and insisted that it was a “government to government” meeting and discussion was mostly on development issues of Bengal.

Banerjee further said she has invited Modi to inaugurate the Deocha Pachami coal block in Birbhum, the second largest coal block in the world, after Durga Puja/Navaratri. 

Banerjee said the coal block is set to get investments of Rs 12,000 crore and generate hundreds of jobs. “We have submitted security of Rs 50,000 crore for this. All agreements are done. I have invited him to inaugurate it after Navaratri and Durga Puja whenever he has time,” she said.

This was Banerjee's first meeting with the PM after his re-election, as she did not turn up for the NITI Aayog meeting in August and even did not attend Modi's swearing-in in May. 

Banerjee said she was keen to meet Home Minister Shah as well. This led opposition leaders in Bengal to insinuate that she hoped to save her party colleagues, as also former Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar who the CBI could arrest in the days to come.

West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said he is happy that Banerjee's "good sense" has prevailed that she has met the PM. “But I think it's too late. Her attempts to save herself and her party from CBI will not yield any results. The law will take its own course and all those who have looted public money or have aided the culprits will have to go behind the bars," Ghosh said.

Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury agreed. “She did not attend earlier meetings called by the Centre. So what was the urgency that she has to meet the prime minister and now wants to meet Amit Shah all of a sudden? So it is anybody's guess what actually is her demand,” Chowdhury said.

Assembly polls in Bengal are due in April-May 2021, some 18-months away, and the BJP has surged in popularity in the state, improving its vote share and winning a significant number of seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The BJP, however, is set to be relentless in its campaign in Bengal. BJP chief Amit Shah and its working president J P Nadda will visit Bengal ahead of the Durga puja. Nadda is likely to visit Bengal on September 27, to address a programme on abolition of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir that gave it special status. Shah is likely to visit Bengal either on October 1 or 2 to inaugurate Durga pujas in the city.

During the meeting with the PM, Banerjee said she discussed the issue of renaming the state. The West Bengal assembly has passed a resolution to rename the state as 'Bangla'. She said the NRC, or National Register of Citizens, the process did not feature during her discussion with the PM. She said there was no proposal for an NRC in Bengal. Her party is opposed to the NRC process in the state.

The Bengal CM said she discussed issues related to privatisation/disinvestment of BSNL, ordnance factories, railway and coal sector. In Bengal, the Trinamool has been at the forefront of protests against disinvestment of public sector undertakings, or PSUs.

“We submitted documents to substantiate the requests we made. Bengal's GDP is 12.8, which is highest across the country. We showed him how Bengal is progressing despite a huge debt burden. We also gave him documents to highlight our achievements in the field of economy and infrastructure," she said.

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Mamata Banerjee meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi 


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