Nine months after the BJP swept to power, chief minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee will finally meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday when she comes to the Capital.
She is the only chief minister to have not met the PM after the new government took charge last May. The two leaders had greeted each other once — at the sidelines of a state banquet in Rashtrapati Bhavan thrown in honour of Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid.
The meet will focus on the Teesta accord and the Indo-Bangla border agreement. Modi is keen to go to Dhaka this year and the government believes the Teesta water sharing treaty will act as a booster for bilateral ties. While Banerjee had visited Dhaka last month and had met Bangladeshi premier Sheikh Hasina, she stopped short of committing to the Teesta accord.
Banerjee’s prime demand to the PM will be for the long-awaited monetary help to tide over the high debt repayment of the state. Although the states’ share in central taxes has been increased to 42% recently, Banerjee is adamant for a special “relief package” to ease the state’s financial burden.
Sources have claimed that Banerjee sought to meet the PM a day after her former lieutenant Mukul Roy declared he would like to meet Modi. Banerjee has accused the NDA government of “political vendetta” regarding the Saradha scam probe by the CBI but the issue is unlikely to come up in the meet.
Keen to avoid the impression her visit is purely Modi-centric, Banerjee plans to spend an afternoon interacting with MPs from different parties. She is also likely to meet President Pranab Mukherjee and finance minister Arun Jaitley.