West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on Wednesday and her efforts to reach out to the PM invited a dig from the BJP which saw it as "a classic example of opportunistic politics".
Banerjee will be leaving for New Delhi on Tuesday for a likely meeting with the PM on Wednesday, state secretariat sources said here on Monday.
The two leaders are likely to hold discussions on administrative issues of West Bengal at the meeting, they said.
"An appointment was sought by the chief minister's office last week from Modi's office for the meeting. It will take place in New Delhi on Wednesday," an official said.
The proposed meeting between the two leaders has heated up the political scenario in West Bengal as Banerjee has been one of the harshest critics of the BJP and Modi. She did not attend Modi's swearing-in in May when he took over charge for the second time and stayed away from the Niti Aayog meeting in June.
The last time Banerjee and Modi met was at the Visva Bharati University convocation at Shantiniketan on May 25, 2018.
The opposition CPI(M) and Congress in the state too took a jibe at the proposed meeting calling it a "part of the political match-fixing" of BJP and TMC in Bengal. The expected meeting assumes significance as it will be held at a time when several leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress and former Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar are under the CBI scanner in connection with the Saradha ponzi scheme scam.
The Saradha group of companies had allegedly duped lakhs of innocent people of about Rs 2500 crore by promising them higher rate of return on their investments.
The BJP, which is sparing no effort to score over TMC before the crucial 2021 Assembly elections, found fresh opportunity to attack Banerjee saying that the CMO's request to Modi's office was in reality Banerjee's "desperate attempt" to save herself from the clutches of the CBI.
BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said, "We all know the kind of language she (Banerjee) had used against Prime Minister Narendra Modi during elections and even after that. She never had any regard for the federal structure and had even said she does not feel the need to respect Modiji as the country's prime minister.
"Now all of a sudden why she is going to Delhi is an open secret. Everybody knows why and for what she is going. This also brings out her nature as an opportunistic politician, who can go to any extent to get her purpose served and forget it once the work is over".
According to an another senior BJP leader who did not wish to be named, Banerjee has sought the meeting with Modi to save herself and her TMC leaders from the clutches of the CBI which is probing the multi-crore chit fund scam in the state.
"It is quite obvious that she is going to Delhi to make an unofficial appeal to ensure she and her party leaders are not touched by CBI. But it will not work, our party leaders will ever compromise on the issue of fighting corruption.
All those who have looted public money will have to go behind the bars," he said.
The saffron party which won 18 out of a total of 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal, only four less than TMC's tally of 22, is eyeing to deseat Banerjee's party in the 2021 state polls.
The Trinamool Congress has, however, termed the BJP claims as "baseless" and said in the federal structure the chief minister is well within her rights to meet the prime minister to discuss developmental issues of the state.
West Bengal PCC president Somen Mitra said, "We have been saying for a long time that both TMC and BJP are playing a fixed match in Bengal. She is going to meet the prime minister to ensure that CBI goes slow in the chit fund scam probe".
Watch | West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee seeks time to meet PM Modi