West Bengal CM comes to Mumbai

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s two-day visit to Mumbai beginning Tuesday has sparked intense political interest, as she is set to meet key Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party officials, as well as prominent businesspeople.

They include NCP President Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray, and MP and Chief Spokesperson Sanjay Raut, all of whom are members of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance, which also includes Congress.

“The CM of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee-ji will pay a courtesy visit to our party President Sharad Pawar Saheb tomorrow, 3 p.m. at his residence ‘Silver Oak,’ in Mumbai,” Senior NCP leader tweeted.

Raut and Thackeray Jr. were scheduled to meet with Banerjee this evening at a five-star hotel in Nariman Point, South Mumbai, though the meeting agenda was not disclosed.

Banerjee arrived this evening and drove down to Prabhadevi’s iconic Shri Siddhivinayak Ganpati Temple, which holds significant religious importance for Maharashtrians, to offer prayers.

She then went to Girgaum Chowpatty Beach to pay tribute to the 26/11 hero, policeman Tukaram Ombale, who apprehended Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab alive there early on November 27, 2008, at the height of the Mumbai terror attacks.

There was considerable conjecture about a possible meeting with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, but it was explicitly ruled out because he is now recovering from spinal surgery, but she inquired about his health from Raut.

Banerjee is set to meet with numerous major businessmen and corporate executives on Wednesday in order to entice them to invest in her state and invite them to the forthcoming Bengal Global Business Summit in April 2022.

The Congress’ Maharashtra General Secretary and Media Coordinator Zakir Ahmed, on the other hand, blasted Banerjee’s political approach, saying she has failed to gauge the ground realities and must reject a neo-political neophyte like Prashant Kishore.

“The Congress and Rahul Gandhi fight the RSS, BJP and (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi- (Home Minister) Amit Shah. But Mamta will challenge Rahul Gandhi and the Congress. Knowingly or unwittingly, she is helping the saffron groups and committing the same blunders that people like Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav and others did in the past,” Ahmed was quoted by IANS in its report.

At the same time, the NCP’s Malik stated that while Pawar has frequently emphasised the need for all opposition parties to work together, such an alliance would be impossible without Congress.

“We feel that if the Sena-NCP-Congress could join hands in Maharashtra, then even the AITC can cooperate with the Congress… If there are some differences, these can be hammered out, let’s see,” Malik said.

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