Mamata Banerjee meets PM Modi, discusses West Bengal's name change
A short while ago, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, their first meeting since May 2019 elections. The Trinamool matriarch said she discussed changing her state's name with PM Modi, her political rival. To recall, the Trinamool wants to change West Bengal's name to "Bangla" and is hoping to get BJP-led Centre's support.
The West Bengal Legislative Assembly had, in July 2018, passed a resolution for name change. Thereafter, the proposal was sent to the Union Home Ministry for approval. However, the Centre had said that changing the name won't be that easy, and it would require amending the Constitution. The last time the name of a state was changed in 2011 when Orissa became Odisha.
Before the much-highlighted meeting, Banerjee had tried to play it down saying her visit is just a "courtesy" call. She had also said she would raise issues like merger of public sector banks (PSBs). "I go to New Delhi very rarely. This is routine work. This time I am going to talk about funds that are due to West Bengal," she had said.
Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, earlier today. pic.twitter.com/t0GXTaOvsw— ANI (@ANI) September 18, 2019
The meeting was seen by many as an attempt by Banerjee to "cool" tensions with PM Modi, hoping that she gets the "best deal" for her state. "It is good that she is meeting our Prime Minister to discuss issues that will benefit us. In governance, it is important to maintain a healthy relationship with the Centre," a senior Trinamool leader told News18.
Naturally, BJP didn't leave the opportunity to take a dig at Banerjee after she decided to meet PM Modi. Kailash Vijayvargiya said she was making a "last-ditch" effort to save former Kolkata top cop Rajeev Kumar, who is on CBI's radar in connection to the Saradha chit fund scam. But Trinamool said Banerjee was within her rights to meet the Prime Minister.
Interestingly, while she was en route to Delhi to meet PM Modi, Banerjee ran into his wife Jasodaben at Kolkata airport. Jasodaben was in the state to offer prayers at Kalyaneshwari temple, and the state's CM asked if she visited other temples in Kalighat or Dakshineswar. She asked her to inform her in advance when she visits again. Banerjee also gifted Jasodaben a saree.