Mamata Banerjee Meets PM Modi In Delhi Over Bengal Pending Dues

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Mamata Banerjee Meets PM Modi In Delhi Over Bengal's Pending Dues

Mamata Banerjee met PM Modi with a delegation of party MPs in Delhi

New Delhi:

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met Prime Minister Narendra Modi today over the state’s pending dues. The meeting lasted around 30 minutes and took place in the parliament complex.

The meeting comes amid a huge tussle over the withholding of central funds to Bengal. Mamata Banerjee met the PM in August 2022 as well to discuss the issue.

The Chief Minister was accompanied by a delegation of MPs, including her nephew and the party’s National General Secretary, Abhishek Banerjee, who led a party agitation in October in Delhi over the issue. Trinamool’s Lok Sabha MP Kalyan Banerjee, at the epicentre of the mimicry row involving Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, was not a part of the delegation.

After the meeting, Ms Banerjee said, “155 teams have already visited Bengal. Whatever clarifications they asked for, our officers shared. We have not received any funds to date. I have met the Prime Minister three times, and I am meeting him and leaving this time. The PM has said that their officers and our officers will hold a joint meeting if any clarifications are required. I told him we have clarified 155 times. Even after that if it is required, officers can have a meeting and decide the formula.”

“In a federal structure, the central government has its share and the state government also has its share. We are not getting the central share for the poor. We believe blocking the funds of the poor is not the right thing. The PM listened to us with attention and said that officers of the Centre and state will sit together and make a decision,” Mamata Banerjee said.

According to the Bengal Chief Minister, the Centre owes Rs 1.16 lakh crore to her state. She accused the Centre of blocking funds to various central schemes and wrote to PM Modi on the issue. She said funds have been withheld on flimsy grounds, like branding and paint colour, and in a letter to the PM she highlighted that depriving the people of Bengal of their rightful claim on development funds has pushed millions into untold misery and poverty.

“Additionally, the government ministry’s forceful branding mandates for state-administered schemes go against the spirit of cooperative federalism. We continue to uphold our demands for the release of funds!” her party said in a post on X.

Meanwhile, the Leader of the Opposition in the Bengal assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, went to Nabanna, the state secretariat, with posters displaying how the Centre’s allocations for several projects have increased in the last few years. Hitting out at the Chief Minister, he said, “Mamata Banerjee is doing drama in Delhi and to expose her political campaign of jumlabaazi, we conducted a programme at Nabanna. It went well and we lodged our protest.”

Mamata Banerjee returned to Bengal after the trip that included a critical INDIA bloc meeting apart from the meeting with the PM. The expectation is that a resolution to this long pending standoff between Centre and Bengal could be seen soon.

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