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Mamata meets PM; chai pe charcha with Sonia today

Wednesday, 28 July 2021 | PNS | New Delhi

Bengal CM on mission to unite Opp leaders

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on a high-profile visit to the national Capital  met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence on Tuesday ahead of a series of meetings with top Opposition leaders to prepare the strategy for a unified challenge to the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

On Wednesday, Mamata will hold “chai pe charcha”  with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

This was the Bengal Chief Minister’s first meeting with the Prime Minister after the bitter Bengal election campaign.

Mamata told reporters after the meeting that there should be a Supreme Court-monitored enquiry into the Pegasus scandal involving Opposition leaders, two Union Ministers and 40 journalists revealed as potential targets of surveillance using Israeli Pegasus spyware that is sold only to Governments.

Mamata’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee is among the potential targets whose name has surfaced as part of a worldwide investigation by a media consortium that includes India’s The Wire. Mamata announced a judicial enquiry led by former Supreme Court judges on Monday.

Mamata described her meeting with the PM as a “courtesy visit” and said she discussed the Covid situation, the supply of vaccines and medicine to the State and also a proposal to rename Bengal

as Bangla.

“I should not speak what the PM said,” she told reporters when pressed for details.

Apart from Sonia, Mamata is scheduled to meet top Opposition leaders like  NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Om Prakash Chautala, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and political strategist Prashant Kishor.

She will also meet leaders of the BSP and the RJD.  After her meetings, the West Bengal CM is also planning to host a dinner for the leaders, sources added without divulging much detail of the timing and venue.

Mamata met senior Congress leaders Kamal Nath, Anand Sharma, and Abhishek Singhvi and on Tuesday.

This is the first of her series of meetings with senior political leaders after her Assembly poll victory in Bengal.

Nath said he had come to congratulate Mamata for her victory in the recent Assembly elections. “The strategy for 2024 will be discussed with Sonia. Mamata will meet Sonia,” said Nath.

“We have not discussed any strategy. That will be discussed by the leader of our party. We just discussed the current situation and the issue of rising prices,” Nath told media when asked about the meeting.

Nath said Mamata’s victory in the Assembly polls has sent a message across the country.

Mamata also met another senior Congress leader Anand Sharma during which Sharma is reported to have told her that there cannot be a non-BJP front without the Congress as it is a national political party with a pan-India presence.

Mamata’s visit is part of her efforts to cobble up a national front against the BJP. Before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Mamata is preparing to play an important role at the national level.

The TMC said their party supremo is also to visit Parliament to meet other political leaders.

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