Mamata Banerjee Meets PM Modi, Asks Him To Rethink CAA, Citizens’ List

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday after arriving in Kolkata on a two day-visit. The meeting at the Raj Bhavan came amid a bitter face-off between PM Modi’s BJP and Ms Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that has triggered massive protests across India.
“It was a courtesy call since he has come to Bengal. I told the Prime Minister that people of the state are not accepting the CAA, NRC (National Register of Citizens) and NPR (National Population Register). I asked him to rethink these steps,” Ms Banerjee said.
The Chief Minister, one of the strongest critics of the new law, said PM Modi asked her to come for a meeting in Delhi on the issues since he had come to Bengal for other programmes.
“I also reminded him that the centre owes around Rs 38,000 crore to Bengal including Rs 7,000 crore as relief for Cyclone Bulbul,” Ms Banerjee said.
The PM is on a packed weekend visit to the Bengal capital for a number of inaugurations and ceremonies.
Amid protests outside, PM Modi was received at the airport by Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, state municipal affairs minister Firhad Hakim, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh and other senior BJP leaders.
A huge security arrangement was put in place in view of protests threatened by numerous outfits against the Prime Minister over the new citizenship law.
PM Modi took a helicopter to the Royal Calcutta Turf Club and from there went to the Raj Bhavan, as protesters had blocked several major crossings to show him black flags. Later at Raj Bhawan, PM Modi met Mamata Banerjee and a delegation of state BJP leadership.
The meeting between Ms Banerjee and the PM came just two days after the Trinamool Congress chief said she would not attend an opposition meeting called by Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Monday over the JNU violence, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and other “anti-people” policies of the centre.
In the evening, PM Modi opened four refurbished heritage buildings of the city – the Old Currency Building, the Belvedere House, the Metcalfe Hall and the Victoria Memorial Hall.
He shared the stage with Ms Banerjee at a colourful programme to celebrate 150 years of the Kolkata Port Trust and inaugurated a sound and light show at the iconic Howrah Bridge from the Millenium Park on the banks of the Hooghly.
PM Modi later took a boat ride to the Belur Math, where he met monks and interacted with Ramakrishna Mission president Swami Smaranananda and retired for the day.
On Sunday, the PM is scheduled to attend a prayer meeting at Belur Math on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, founder of the Ramakrishna Mission.
PM Modi will also participate in the sesquicentenary celebrations of the Kolkata Port Trust on Sunday.