Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who has embarked on a three-day visit to Mumbai, will meet NCP supremo Sharad Pawar on Wednesday afternoon. Maharashtra minority affairs minister and senior NCP leader Nawab Malik said the Trinamul Congress chief would call on Mr Pawar at 3 pm.
However, Ms Banerjee will not be able to meet Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray due to his ill-health. The Shiv Sena leader’s son, Aaditya Thackeray, also a state minister, and another party leader, Sanjay Raut, are due to meet the TMC chief on Tuesday evening following her arrival in the country’s financial capital.
Ms Banerjee will later meet several top industrialists, address them and invite them to next year’s Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS), to be organised by her government, for which she has already invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week.
Before flying to Mumbai on Tuesday afternoon, the CM said: “I wanted to meet Mr Thackeray because he has been ill and is in hospital. He also underwent surgery. But I heard that the doctors are not allowing anyone to meet him to avoid infection. His son will come to meet me at my hotel. I will visit Siddhivinayak Temple and the Police Memorial built in tribute to the 26/11 martyrs. On Tuesday, I will meet the representatives of civil society initiated by lyricist Javed Akhtar, and Mr Pawar, who is a senior politician.”
Her proposed meeting with Mr Pawar comes after former Goa CM and present NCP MLA from Benaulim Churchill Alemao and his daughter Valanka flew to Kolkata on Monday night and met the TMC leadership, apparently for their induction ahead of the Assembly election next year.
Asked about the absence of her party’s name in the joint statement that was issued by the Congress on Monday on Opposition unity, the TMC chief said: “No comment is my only comment.”
She then added: “I visited Mumbai earlier also. This time I will also attend an annual programme of young industrialists who have invited me to address them. Moreover, our BGBS is in April. So, I will also invite them. The industrialists of Mumbai have businesses here also. Bengal is the destination for a new industrial setup and investment.”’
Asked about the names of the industrialists, Ms Banerjee quipped: “You will see. Just wait and watch.” The CM said that her government had invited top Bollywood actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan, and directors including Mahesh Bhatt, to the Kolkata Film Festival....