West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to undertake a three-day visit to Odisha beginning tomorrow. Arya Kumar Gyanendra, the state convenor of Trinamool Congress, which Banerjee heads, said her tour is "purely personal and has nothing to do with politics". Official sources said she would be a state guest and is scheduled to have a darshan of Lord Jagannath in Puri. Asked whether Banerjee would meet Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik after her arrival here tomorrow evening, Gyanendra said "We have no information in this regard." CMO sources, however, said Banerjee is likely to meet Patnaik during her visit.
Both the chief ministers had met at the Parliament House in Delhi on April 10. The proposed meeting of the two non-BJP and neighbouring chief ministers assume significance as the ruling parties in Odisha and West Bengal have been entangled in the chitfund scam which is being investigated by CBI. As both the regional parties - TMC and BJD are being targetted by BJP Banerjee and Patnaik may draw a specific strategy to counter the saffron surge in their respective states. Gyanendra said TMC has been trying to expand its base in Odisha and has already set up its unit in Bhubaneswar but its presence has not turned out to be impressive so far.