Monday, 30th October 2017

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Didi-Shah meeting on cards

Trinamul insiders said Mamata wanted to ensure that working relationship with the Centre did not get hurt

  • Published 18.02.20, 12:44 AM
  • Updated 18.02.20, 12:44 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Mamata Banerjee during a protest File pictures

Mamata Banerjee is likely to come face-to-face with Union home minister Amit Shah in Bhubaneswar on February 28 when the latter will be there to chair a meeting to foster co-operation and co-ordination among Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, and Jharkhand.

The decision of the Bengal chief minister to attend the session of the Eastern Zonal Council that would be presided over by Shah assumes significance in the backdrop of the state’s opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Population Register.

“So far, it has been decided that the chief minister will attend the meeting. Till date, the chief minister has attended only one EZC meeting in 2018, which was held in Calcutta and convened by then Union home minister Rajnath Singh, with whom she used to share a personal rapport,” said a senior government official.

Meetings of the zonal councils are held to foster co-operation and co-ordination among states in a particular region. There are five such councils — in north eastern, northern, eastern, southern and central parts of India.

While the standing committees of the zonal councils — comprising chief secretaries of states — meet usually once a year, the apex committee consisting the chief ministers and the Union home minister meet every second or third year.

Officials said Mamata had consciously agreed to attend the meeting in Bhubaneswar as she wanted to send a message to the Centre as well as those who criticised her.

“She wants to send a message that she would cooperate with the Centre on developmental issues, but she would oppose anything unconstitutional. She wants to make it clear that she is not opposing the CAA and the NPR only to serve her political purpose,” said a bureaucrat.

Sources also said the chief minister would underscore how her government had discharged its responsibilities by boosting both inter-state and centre-state co-operation.

“But the chief minister would raise her voice against the Centre’s bid to withdraw 34 companies of paramilitary from the Jungle Mahal. She would get a chance to make the Union home minister aware of the ground reality,” said a source.

Trinamul insiders said Mamata wanted to ensure that working relationship with the Centre did not get hurt and attending the meeting was important for the state.

“We have already opted out of two major central schemes — Ayushman Bharat and PM-Kishan. We are opposing the CAA and the NPR vehemently. In such a situation, if the chief minister skips the meeting, it would not send a good signal,” said a minister.