New Delhi: A banquet hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee for a visiting foreign dignitary tonight provided the platform for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and her bitter political foe West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to meet and exchange pleasantries with each other.
As the Prime Minister arrived at the banquet at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in honour of Bangladesh President Md Abdul Hamid, he shook hands with the Indian delegation that had lined up for customary introduction to the visiting head of state.
Modi stopped for a while and exchanged greetings with the West Bengal Chief Minister.After exchanging pleasantries with Banerjee, Modi walked ahead along the line and stood with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while Banerjee talked to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
This was the first time Mamata met Modi in the backdrop of weeks of a bitter war of words between BJP and Trinamool Congress, including the party supremo, for weeks on a range of issues including Saradha chit fund scam, Burdwan blast and incidents of communal tension in parts of the country.
Mamata has repeatedly targeted Modi using some strong words against him and BJP too attacked her and Trinamool Congress accusing them of shielding those involved in Saradha chit fund scam and Burdwan blast.
The President, who returned from a week-long hospitalisation where he underwent a coronary angioplasty, did not stay for the banquet and retired to bed on health grounds.
The banquet, where the visiting President was served ‘sorsey maach' (fish dipped in mustard paste), ‘doi maach'(fish prepared with curd), ‘maach bhapa' (steamed fish) with Bengali music playing in the background, was carried forwardby Vice President Hamid Ansari. There was a cultural programme ahead of the banquet where renowned Bharatanatyam dancer Priya Venkataram performed before the VVIPs.