Amid Assam NRC storm, Mamata Banerjee to meet Rajnath Singh today

A day after assailing the Centre over the final draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens, which excluded 40 lakh people, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday is slated to meet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the issue. On a three-day visit to Delhi, the TMC supremo also has engagements with Yashwant Sinha and BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha, two fierce critics of the government, at advocate Ram Jethmalani’s residence, ANI reported.

However, what will be keenly watched is her speech at the “Love your Neighbour” conference, organised by India’s largest Christian body, The Catholic Bishops Conference of India, where she is the chief guest.

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Contending that the exclusion of 40 lakh names from the NRC draft was “forceful eviction”, Banerjee had said she would personally meet the Home Minister and raise this issue. “We have got reports that people who possess government documents such as Aadhaar cards and passports have been left out of the draft list. Today, they became refugees because of the central government and its policies. We have already raised the issue in Parliament today and I will personally meet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and raise this issue,” she said at a press conference on Monday.

Meanwhile, the party said a delegation of TMC MPs would visit Assam on Thursday to take stock of the situation, ANI reported. However, the focal point of her visit is to ramp up the efforts to forge an anti-BJP front ahead of the 2019 elections. The TMC chief is likely to meet UPA chief Sonia Gandhi, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav and other opposition party leaders to invite them for a ‘federal-front’ rally in Kolkata on January 19.

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Her visit to the national capital was mired in controversy after St. Stephen’s College cancelled an event at the last moment where Banerjee was supposed to speak. TMC has claimed the event was called off due to “pressure from a Union minister”.