Political rivals Union home minister Amit Shah and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee will discuss the thorny issue of the Centre-state relationship at a meeting in Kolkata next month.
Shah will chair a meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council to be attended by chief ministers of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Sikkim, and Odisha at Bengal state secretariat Nabanna on December 17.
The meeting was scheduled to take place on November 5, but could not happen due to the unavailability of the Union home minister.
The state government will make all necessary arrangements for the meetings, officials said here.
Common issues among the states like the Centre-state relationship, particularly with the non-BJP ruled states, inter-state borders, and railways will be discussed at the meeting.
The meeting comes in the backdrop of Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders’ allegations that central agencies were hyperactive in the state to harass the ruling party. Mamata along with other senior party leaders have accused PM Modi and Shah of dismantling the established power-sharing norms between the Central government and states.
Recently, Bengal MLA Sabitri Mitra called Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Shah as “Duryodhan and Dushashan” – two negative characters of the Hindu epic of Mahabharat, sparking a new slugfest between the TMC and the opposition BJP in the state.
Reacting to her controversial statement, Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari said the TMC legislator was following the footprints of her “supreme leader” – a term used to refer to political figures who like to rule with an iron fist.
“Following her supreme leader’s footsteps she engaged in name-calling & described Hon’ble PM & Hon’ble HM as Duryodhan & Dushasan from a political rally today at Malda,” he tweeted.
He further said: “But her hatred for Gujaratis is incomprehensible. She labelled the people of Gujarat as traitors. Unfortunate.”
Later, state BJP MLAs staged a demonstration outside the state legislative assembly, demanding an apology from MLA Mitra.
In the Eastern Zonal Council set-up, the Union home minister holds the chair of the president whereas the Bengal CM is the vice-chairman.