At Naveen Patnaik’s lunch, Mamata Banerjee and Amit Shah on same table
Mamata Banerjee has been one of the fiercest critics of the new citizenship law passed by Parliament in December last year.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had lunch together at the house of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneshwar on Friday. A picture of the luncheon was posted on Twitter by Patnaik.
Banerjee was in Odisha for the 24th meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council (EZC) chaired by Shah. Apart from Patnaik and Banerjee, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan were also present. Jharkhand Finance Minister Rameshwar Oraon, who represented the state in the meeting in the absence of Chief Minister Hemant Soren, did not join them.
Banerjee has been one of the fiercest critics of the new citizenship law passed by Parliament in December last year. Amid countrywide protests, Banerjee has vowed that she will not be implementing it is West Bengal. She had even met Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visited Kolkata last month. In the 15-minute meeting, Banerjee made her opposition to Citizenship (Amendment) Act, National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) clear and asked him to rethink.
But on Friday, the issue was not discussed in the meeting between the leaders. “Neither they raised the issues nor did I. It was also not on the agenda. This meeting was not for that,” Banerjee told reporters after the lunch.
Asked if she would back the demand of Shah’s resignation in the wake of the Delhi riots, Banerjee said, “The problem should be solved first and then we will discuss politics.” She said that peace should prevail across the country and the riot victims adequately compensated.
At the EZC meeting, Banerjee expressed concern over the communal clashes in Delhi that have claimed 42 lives and said that steps should be taken so that the situation doesn’t aggravate further. She also raised the issue of alleged negligence of the Centre towards her state.
She claimed that West Bengal did not get the required assistance during natural calamities such as cyclone Fani and Bulbul, besides several other pending dues from the Centre.