All eyes will be on the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee when she arrives at the Capital for a three-day visit from Monday (November 22). This is her second visit to Delhi after her resounding victory in the WB state Assembly elections.
Mamata’s packed schedule in Delhi includes a crucial meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, besides discussions with party leaders on the strategy Opposition parties should adopt ahead of the upcoming Winter Session, which will flag off on November 29.
One of the key issues Mamata is expected to discuss with PM Modi will be on the Centre’s recent move to extend the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF). She had already criticised the BJP-led central government for amending the BSF Act to authorise the force to undertake search, seizure and arrest within a larger 50 km stretch, as compared to the earlier 15km, from the international borders in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.
Mamata had alleged that this move interfered with the federal structure of the country adding that they do not have problems in the border areas and share very cordial relations (with neighbouring countries). “There is no need to create this confusion. Law and order is a State subject. BSF must look after what they are responsible for and we will have total support for that,” she said, The Hindu reported. West Bengal shares an international border with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
The CM wanted to register her protest in person, said sources, according to a report in News18. She will also raise the issue over the state GST and other monetary issues as well.
No meeting has been scheduled with the Congress high command however. Though Mamata had met Sonia Gandhi when she had visited Delhi the last time to talk about creating a unified Opposition front, no meeting has been fixed this time so far. Relations between the two parties have also steadily deteriorated after TMC reportedly “poached” Congress leaders such as Sushmita Dev and Luizinho Faleiro.
A senior Congress leader told News18 that it now remains to be seen whether the Congress high command takes the initiative to meet her. Mamata however will meet leaders of other Opposition parties ahead of the Parliament’s Winter Session to work out the strategy and issues to be raised. Though the BJP maintained that there is no significance behind Banerjee’s visit, a section of Left and Congress leaders claimed her meeting with the PM signalled that a “setting” was underway between the TMC and BJP.