In a first since last year’s state elections, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday held a ”courtesy meeting” with Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari at her chamber in the state Assembly, raising eyebrows in political circles. Later, during a discussion on ‘Constitution Day’ in the House, the CM said that she had at one point adored him like a brother. Adhikari and Banerjee had been at loggerheads since the end of 2020 when he switched over to the BJP from the TMC and defeated the TMC supremo in Nandigram in the Assembly polls. The meeting came close on the heels of Adhikari complaining that his name was not included in the invitation letter for the ‘Constitution Day’ programme in the Assembly.
The BJP leader had also said that he would ”boycott” the programme.
The Nandigram MLA was seen entering Banerjee’s chamber accompanied by BJP leaders Manoj Tigga and Agnimitra Paul, shortly after the assembly session broke for recess in the afternoon.
”I called Suvendu for tea,” Banerjee said after the meeting.
Adhikari, talking to reporters, said, ”It was just a courtesy call. Nothing else should be read into it. I did not have tea.” Reacting to the ”courtesy meet”, Congress leader Kamurzzan Chowdhury claimed that the process of ”Didi-Modi patch-up” is underway, with eye on 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
”The Centre released funds for Pradhan Mantri Gram Awas Yojana yesterday, and Mamata is scheduled to meet PM Modi on December 5. Today, the CM met Suvendu. All these point to the fact that the process for Didi-Modi patch-up” is underway,” he said.
Echoing similar sentiments, CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty told PTI that ”it became clear from today’s meeting that there is an understanding between the TMC and the BJP”.