'Brutal attempt to stifle democracy': Mamata Banerjee reacts to I-T raids at Dainik Bhaskar premises

KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday left for Delhi on a five-day visit, where she is slated to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several front-ranking opposition leaders.

The Trinamool Congress supremo, who apparently seeks to take up a larger role in national politics prior to the 2024 Lok Sabha election, is visiting Delhi for the first time after leading her party to power in West Bengal for the third time in a row.

The BJP’s West Bengal unit alleged that Banerjee wants to be away from the state for a few days as she is facing criticism over the fake COVID vaccination scandal, post-poll violence and other issues. Her efforts to unite opposition parties will not succeed, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh claimed.

After attending a special state cabinet meeting, the chief minister left for the national capital. She did not talk to newspersons at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata.

Banerjee told reporters earlier that the PM has given time to her for a meeting later this week while she would also like to call on President Ram Nath Kovind. However, she had refused to disclose details of her proposed meeting with Modi.

TMC sources said that during her visit from July 26-30, she may also go to Parliament where the monsoon session is in progress. The BJP state president told reporters that Banerjee is currently facing criticism from various quarters over issues such as the dubious vaccination scandal, fake IAS-IPS officers and post-poll violence.

“The state government is bankrupt and she doesn’t know how to foot the bills. She wants to get some relief from all these pressures for some days. She also wants to meet the PM to seek financial help,” Ghosh told reporters.

He claimed that any effort by Banerjee to stitch a unified front of opposition parties will not succeed. “In 2019, she had invited several opposition leaders to Kolkata but Modi came back to power with a thumping majority in the Lok Sabha polls,” Ghosh said.