Mamata Banerjee to meet PM Modi, BJP calls it bid to save herself from CBI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. (File)

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi Wednesday, state secretariat sources confirmed. The state BJP was quick to mock the Trinamool Congress chief, terming her move as a "classic example of opportunistic politics" and "a desperate attempt to save herself from the clutches of CBI".

The meeting with the Prime Minister comes at a time when several leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, along with former Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar, are under CBI scanner in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam.

"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 told PTI.

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The two leaders are likely to hold discussions on administrative issues of West Bengal at the meeting, PTI quoted sources as saying.

Upping the ante against the chief minister, BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said, "We all know the kind of language she (Banerjee) had used against Prime Minister Narendra Modi during Lok Sabha elections and afterwards. She never had any regard for the federal structure and had even said she does not feel the need to respect Modiji as prime minister."

"Now all of a sudden why and for what she is going to Delhi is an open secret. It also brings out her nature of an oppurtunistic politician, who can go to any extent to get her purpose served and forget it once the job is done," he said.

Another senior BJP leader, who did not wish to be named, said Banerjee is going to the national capital to save herself and her party leaders from the clutches of CBI, which is investigating the multi crore chit fund scam in Bengal.

"It is quite obvious that she is going to Delhi to make an unofficial appeal to ensure that she and her TMC party leaders are not touched by CBI. But it will not work. Our party high command will never compromise on the issue of fighting corruption," he said.

"All those who have looted public money, will have to go behind bars," he added.

However, the Trinamool Congress termed the saffron party’s claims as baseless and said Banerjee is well within her rights to meet the Prime Minister to discuss developmental issues of the state.

"The Bengal BJP leaders should stop making baseless claims. In a federal structure a chief minister of a state has every right to meet the prime minister. The proposed meeting is related to developmental issues of the state," a senior TMC leader said.

The Saradha group of companies had allegedly duped lakhs of people to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore, promising higher rates of returns on their investments. Kumar was summoned by the CBI to appear before its officials by 2 pm today but he did not turn up.

The two leaders had last met at the convocation ceremony at Visva Bharati University held in Shantiniketan on May 25, 2018.

(With PTI inputs)