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Mamata meets PM, faces protest from Left students

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Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged him to withdraw contentious new Citizenship Act, prompting Left students activists to protest against her and demand an explanation for diluting the fight against CAA.

Banerjee on Saturday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Raj Bhawan and requested him to rethink on the issue of amended Citizenship Act and urged him to withdraw CAA, NRC and NPR.

Modi told her to come to New Delhi and discuss the matter, she told reporters after a meeting with the PM at Raj Bhawan.

Just after the meeting, Banerjee went straight to TMC students wing sit-in demonstration in the city against CAA, where she reiterated her stand that the new Citizenship law would never be implemented in Bengal.

Later, in the late evening Banerjee went to the demonstration, when Left students activists reached the spot and shouted slogans seeking an explanation from her over the meeting with Modi and diluting the fight against amended Citizenship Act.

Banerjee termed her meeting with PM Modi as a "courtesy visit" and said she has raised issues regarding the due financial assitance that the state is yet to receive from the Centre.

"It was a courtesy meeting. I told him about Rs 28,000 crore that the state is yet to receive from the Centre. Including Rs 7000 crore, we are supposed to get for the cyclone Fani.

"I acquainted him that we are against CAA, NPR and NRC . I also told him that protest is going on across the country against CAA, NRC and NPR.

"I told him that there should not be any discrimination among masses and no citizens should be left out or tortured. I asked him that the Centre should rethink on the issues and withdraw CAA," she said.

When asked what PM Modi said in reply, the TMC supremo said, "regarding the matter related to states, he said he will look into the documents and about these issues (CAA, NRC and NPR), he said he has come for a few government programmes. So if there is an opportunity he would speak on the subjects in New Delhi".

The meeting assumes significance as the new citizenship law has emerged as the latest flashpoint in the state. Banerjee's Trinamool Congress is opposing the contentious legislation tooth and nail and the BJP is pressing for its implementation.

The meeting between the two leaders comes just two days after Banerjee had on Thursday said in the state Assembly that she would boycott an opposition meeting called by Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on January 13 over the JNU violence, the Citizenship Amendment Act and other "anti- people" policies of the Centre.

Later while addressing party's anti-CAA rally at Rani Rashmoni Road, Banerjee referring to the gazette notification by the Union Home ministry regarding CAA, said the notification will be only on paper, it will never be implemented either in the country or in Bengal.

"The CAA notification will only remain on paper but will never be implemented. We will not implement the CAA...This is unconstitutional, illegal and wrong," Banerjee said while addressing the rally.

The Centre on Friday, in a gazette notification, announced that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act will come into force from January 10.

She said those who are in power at the centre should not do whatever they feel like just because they have the majority (in Parliament).

"Those who are yet to understand the situation must wake up now. There is no point in sleeping while keeping your eyes open," she said at the rally.

In a dig at Modi, who is slated to visit Belur Math and pay respect to Swami Vivekananda on his birth anniversary, Banerjee said "there are some people who come all the way from Delhi for paying respect to Vivekananda for a day, while we observe his ideals of humanism throughout the year."

Later, after attending a sound and light show at Millenium Park here with PM Modi, Banerjee returned to the anti-CAA rally venue.

A group of student activists affiliated to Left parties reached the venue and shouted slogans 'Azadi' 'Chi Chi' and 'shame shame' against Banerjee.

The students demanded an explanation from Banerjee for diluting the nationwide fight against amended Citizenship Act.

Banerjee rushed to the stage and tried to pacify the protesting students.

"I as a Chief Minister had gone there to meet the Prime Minister. Just show one leader who has the guts to say it on the face of Narendra Modi that we are opposing CAA.

"We have been protesting from the day one against CAA. The issue of both of us is same so please don't deviate from it. I would request you all to protest in a democratic way," she said while trying to pacify the agitating students.

The student activists questioned her on the need to meet Modi at this juncture, when the entire state is protesting against the "Modi's draconian law".

The Left students group organised a counter sit-in just opposite the TMC's dharna venue, even as chief minister was sitting on the dais.

The meeting between Prime Minister Modi and Banerjee drew sharp reactions from Congress and CPI(M), which said Trinamool Congress' "double standard" is now exposed.

The Trinamool Congress leadership refuted claims of "political match-fixing" and said the meeting between the two leaders was just a government-to-government meeting.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Sat, January 11 2020. 21:45 IST
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