In Mamata Banerjee’s Busy Delhi Itinerary, Time for PM Modi, Sonia Gandhi

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee will visit Delhi on Monday, in what is being seen as a significant development towards devising a strategy for the general elections for the Opposition camp.

Banerjee is also scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind during her stay in the national capital.

On Friday, Banerjee took over as the parliamentary chairperson of the TMC from MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay, ahead of her Delhi visit. The move came on after Trinamool MP Dr Santanu Sen was suspended from the rest of the monsoon session for tearing up IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s response to the Pegasus snooping scandal.

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Banerjee is not a member of Parliament. Announcing this at a press conference in Delhi, Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien said she has been the guiding force behind the TMC parliamentary party for a long time.

“We are just formalising a reality. Our chairperson is a seven-time Member of Parliament. She has the vision to guide the parliamentary party. She has the experience and insight. She was anyway guiding us,” he said. The decision has been taken both at a conceptual and tactical level, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader said.

“She has been a call away always. We feel more empowered,” O’Brien said. He also said that all TMC MPs unanimously chose Banerjee as their leader.

The development came just a day after the party national general secretary and nephew of Banerjee held a meeting with the party MPs in Delhi on Thursday. TMC with 22 Lok Sabha MPs is the fourth largest party in the lower house along with YSR Congress Party after BJP, Congress and DMK.

A look at Banerjee’s Itinerary:

– Chief Minister Banerjee will reach Delhi on Monday around 5pm in the evening after attending a special Cabinet meeting Monday before leaving for the national capital. According to the official sources, the reason behind calling this special Cabinet was yet not clear since the last meeting was held as recently as Thursday.

– Banerjee is set to meet PM Modi on Tuesday around 4pm in Delhi, in a first in-person meeting with the prime minister after she had skipped the Cyclone Yaas review meeting.

On Martyrs’ Day, Banerjee had said, “I will go to Delhi for two-three days. I will meet PM. I have got the time. I will also meet the President.”

– On Wednesday, the final day of her visit, the TMC chief is likely to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other Opposition leaders. According to the TMC, planning a strategy for the general elections should be kick-started from now and the party has been working in this direction since May 2 when the results of the Bengal polls handed a stunning victory to Banerjee.

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