Mamata sharing stage with PM during Kolkata port function unclear for now

Mamata Banerjee

Amid the wide-spread protests against recent changes in the citizenship law, the prospect of Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee sharing dias with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 150th anniversary function of Kolkota Port Trust here on Sunday remained uncertain on Thursday.

There was neither any confirmation nor denial on whether Banerjee would attend the programme, said a senior Trinamool Congress leader.

Prime Minister Modi will be on a two-day visit to Kolkata from November 11 and is scheduled to attend 150th anniversary function of Kolkata Port Trust (KOPT) on January 12, among many other scheduled programmes.

According to KOPT sources, Chief Minister Banerjee has also been invited for the programme.

But TMC top brass remained tight-lipped on whether the chief minister would attend the event.

"It is not clear if our party supremo would attend the programme. Nothing has been decided so far. The picture would be clear only after Friday afternoon," a top TMC leader said.

"The situation right now is very fragile, given the intensity of protests we have launched against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Our state (TMC) government had openly said we would not implement the Act in the state. So now whether the top leaders of both the parties would share dais or not is a million dollar question," another senior TMC leader said.

Ever since the BJP emerged the main contender of the TMC in the state during the recent Lok Sabha polls, Modi and Banerjee have not shared the dais at any government programme.

Banerjee had gone to New Delhi last September and met Prime Minister Modi in a "courtesy call" after the Lok Sabha polls.

The changes in citizenship law have emerged as the latest flashpoint in the state, with the TMC opposing the legislation tooth and nail, and the BJP pressing for its implementation.

Banerjee had gone hammer and tongs against the present BJP dispensation over the issue of CAA and proposed pan-India NRC, accusing the saffron camp of dividing the masses on religious lines.

The West Bengal BJP leadership said it is for the chief minister to decide whether she would attend the programmer.

"She keeps on lecturing us on federal structure. Now it is to be seen if the chief minister attends the programme and maintains the cohesiveness of federal structure or gives it a miss," a senior BJP leader said.

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