Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is likely to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah during the Eastern Zonal Council (EZC) meeting on February 28 in Bhubaneswar.
Shah will be on a two-day visit to Odisha from February 28 to February 29. During his stay, he will chair a meeting of the council and address a public rally in favour of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Bhubaneswar.
On February 29, he is scheduled to visit the Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri and the Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar.
Banerjee had last attended the EZC meeting in Kolkata in 2008 when Rajnath Singh was the home minister. The EZC meetings are meant to improve cooperation and coordination among states of West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand.
If Banerjee decided to attend the meeting, it will be a significant step as she has stayed away from many of Centre’s events and meetings previously.
On May 6 last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought a meeting with Banerjee and her senior administrative officials to conduct a review on Cyclone ‘Fani’ but the request was turned down by the Bengal CM.
Banerjee took everyone by surprise when she accepted the invite to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in in May 2019 but backed out a day earlier.
However, in the recent past, there has been a shift in the Bengal CM’s stand as she personally went to Delhi to meet PM Modi and Shah in September.
Addressing reporters after the meeting, Banerjee had said: “I handed over a letter to him, told him that of the 19 lakh people left out of NRC, many are Hindi speaking, Bengali speaking and local Assamese. Many genuine voters have been left out. This should be looked into.”
In January 2020, Banerjee met PM Modi during his visit to Kolkata. If Banerjee makes it to Bhubaneswar, it will be her second meeting with Shah after he assumed the role of home minister.