At Mamata’s meeting in Delhi, Abhishek spells out House strategy

The Chief Minister spent around an hour in the meeting, which took place at the official residence of Trinamool Rajya Sabha deputy floor leader Sukhendu Shekar Roy. Abhishek is learnt to have spelt out the strategy that Trinamool MPs are expected to adopt over the remaining part of the Monsoon Session.

Most MPs stayed back till Abhishek left the venue. Both Banerjee and Abhishek left without speaking to the press. TMC Lok Sabha floor leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay told reporters: “During the Parliament sessions, she gives us the guidelines which we follow and this time was no exception. We will continue to raise pro-people issues,” he said.

The TMC chief’s visit to the national capital comes at a time the BJP is aggressively targeting the party over the alleged teacher recruitment scam in which former West Bengal cabinet minister and suspended Trinamool leader Partha Chatterjee is in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

It is against this backdrop that Banerjee will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday. She will also visit Rashtrapati Bhavan to pay President Draupadi Murmu a courtesy visit, a senior TMC leader said.

The Trinamool leadership, however, maintained that Banerjee’s meeting with the PM will be “on administrative issues such as pending dues of GST, MGNREGA and other central assistance schemes”. Party sources said both Banerjee and Abhishek categorically told the MPs to “not get intimidated by the central BJP”.

“The message was clear: to aggressively raise pro-people issues in the House. That also includes protesting against the blatant attempts to topple Opposition-led governments in many states including Jharkhand,” the source said.

The TMC leadership believes the Congress should acknowledge that the West Bengal Police has managed to thwart a possible bid to topple the JMM-led Jharkhand government in which the Congress is a partner. So far, there is no word on whether a meeting between Banerjee and Congress president Sonia Gandhi is on the cards.

On Saturday, Banerjee may attend a meeting of top leaders of non-Congress parties including the AAP, TRS and the DMK. She will also attend a meeting of the governing council of the NITI Aayog on August 7, before returning to Kolkata on August 8.

At the meeting with the MPs, the Delhi Police’s alleged attempts to stop a team of West Bengal CID from carrying out raids also figured, sources said. “This is entirely illegal and raises questions of constitutionality,” TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee said after the meeting, which was also attended by Shatrughan Sinha, who was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Asansol constituency in April.

Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh, who was elected to Lok Sabha on a BJP ticket, was also present in the meeting. He had returned to the TMC in May.

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