Mamata Banerjee is meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence. This is the Bengal Chief Minister’s first meeting with the Prime Minister after the acrimonious Bengal election campaign in which the two clashed frequently.
Ms Banerjee may ask the Prime Minister to ensure the release of central dues to the state as well as vaccines.
The two leaders had met briefly in May, when Ms Banerjee’s move to skip PM Modi’s Cyclone Yaas review meeting became a huge flashpoint between the Centre and Bengal. Ms Banerjee left the meeting after handing over a report. Then Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, caught in the crossfire, was recalled by the Centre but he retired on May 31 and became special adviser to the Bengal Chief Minister. In June the Centre warned him of “major penalty proceedings” for allegedly “not attending” the PM’s review meeting.
Earlier today, Ms Banerjee met with Congress leader Kamal Nath. A meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi is also on the agenda for the Bengal Chief Minister, whose three-day visit to Delhi is packed with politically significant meetings.
Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal are also expected to call on her.
Ms Banerjee has been a key figure in speculation swirling around the opposition’s attempts to join forces to take on PM Modi and the BJP in the 2024 national election. Her recent election victory in Bengal has buttressed her image as an opposition face that can challenge the BJP’s might.
She was last week named leader of the Trinamool parliamentary party though she is not an MP. The new role signals her readiness to play a larger role in national politics beyond Bengal.