After a gap of 16 months and setting aside all the past rancour and virulent diatribe, Trinamul Congress leader and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his 7 Lok Kalyan Marg office-cum residence here. Banerjee, who met Modi late this afternoon, presented him with a bouquet and the PM greeted her in return. The firebrand leader, who had earlier said that she would offer ladoo mixed with stones to Modi, was reportedly seen carrying with her a kurta and sweets from Bengal for the Prime Minister and his staff at the PMO.
The Prime Minister’s Office later posted photographs of Mamata’s meeting with the Prime Minister on its Twitter handle. In her interaction with the media later, Mamata Banerjee said the meeting took place in a cordial atmosphere. She refused to be dragged into controversy when journalists quizzed her on the NRC and if she discussed the matter with Modi. Mamata said the purpose of her meeting was to talk about the development of Bengal. She said she had on behalf of her government presented to the Prime Minister a paper giving details of the development work being undertaken in the state.
She claimed that in terms of GDP, Bengal stood first in the country. Miss Banerjee said she had submitted to the PM a list of demands including extra allocation of Rs 1300 crore and early approval of the request for changing the name of West Bengal to Bangla. Miss Banerjee said PM Modi had assured her that he would look into her demands, including the one on changing her state’s name to Bangla. On this issue, she said her government had earlier written to the Home Ministry.
She said a delegation of TMC leaders had also met the PM during the monsoon session of Parliament. She said if the Centre chose to make addition or altercation to the name “Bangla’ suggested by her she would have no problem with it. Mamata invited Modi to visit Bengal to inaugurate the coal field project in Birbhum. “I have requested Prime Minister Modi to visit Bengal and inaugurate the world’s second largest coal field in the state after the Durga Pujo and Navaratri festivities,” she said, adding that the project would create lakhs of jobs in the state. Asked if she had also discussed NRC with the PM, Miss Banerjee replied that “only development-oriented” talks were held.