Mamata meets Modi in Delhi; discusses Covid, demands more vaccines

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for what she called a courtesy meeting. This is the first official meeting between Prime Minister and Banerjee in the national capital after she became chief minister of West Bengal for the third time after a stunning victory in assembly polls. The meeting, held at Prime Minister’s residence, lasted for around 45 minutes.

The two leaders had met very briefly when PM Modi visited West Bengal to assess the damage caused by Cyclone Yaas in May.

It is learnt that during the meeting, Banerjee discussed the Covid situation in the state and demanded more vaccines and medicines for the state. After meeting with the Prime Minister, Banerjee said, “It was a courtesy meeting. I told the Prime Minister about the need for more vaccines and medicines in West Bengal. I also raised the pending issue of change of the name of the state on which the Prime Minister said he will see.”

In July 2018, the West Bengal assembly passed a resolution to change the name of the state to Bangla.

Her visit comes at a time when Parliament’s monsoon session is on in which the opposition parties are protesting on a range of issues including the allegations of surveillance through Pegasus spyware, price rise, and repeal of three farm laws.

Banerjee also discussed several different projects of the state and tax issues.
On the issue of her meeting with the opposition leaders, Banerjee said, “Many parties and their leaders are old friends. I am meeting them.”

Banerjee also said that she will be meeting Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday. “On Wednesday, I am meeting Sonia Gandhi. She has invited me for tea,” she said.

On her plan to bringing all opposition parties on one platform, She said, “Though the Lok Sabha polls are far away, we have to start planning in advance. Assembly elections will be held in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Tripura. Our people were arrested in Tripura.”

Earlier she met Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath.

Banerjee’s meeting with opposition leaders is being seen as an attempt to bring all the opposition parties together before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. She is also likely to meet NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday.

Mamata Banerjee is in Delhi on a five-day visit.

(With IANS inputs)

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