Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said she had raised the issue of Delhi riots with Union Home Minister Amit Shah when she attended a meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council (EZC) chaired by him in Bhubaneshwar on Friday.
Speaking to reports after attending the marathon meeting, Banerjee said, “Before highlighting many issues, including pending central funds during the Eastern Zonal Council meet, I raised the issue of Delhi violence.”
Banerjee expressed concern over the communal clashes in Delhi that have claimed at least 42 lives and said steps should be taken so that the situation doesn’t aggravate further.
“I am very sad about what happened in Delhi. A police constable and an Intelligence Bureau (IB) official also died. Peace must be restored in Delhi,” she said.
Speaking to reporters after attending a lunch hosted by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Banerjee said there was no discussion on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) or the National Register of Citizens (NRC) at the meeting as it was not on the agenda.
“Neither they raised the issues nor did I. It was also not on the agenda. This meeting was not for that,” she said.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhanwas also present at the lunch hosted by Patnaik at his official residence.
Asked if she would back the demand of Shah’s resignation in wake of the riots, Banerjee said, “The problem should be solved first and then we will discuss politics.”
Slamming her for attending the EZC meeting, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said instead of demanding Shah’s resignation, Banerjee had waited for him in Odisha to attend the meeting.
“Whatever has happened in Delhi shows a complete failure of Amit Shah. He should resign. I condemned this (Banerjee’s meeting with Shah),” Chowdhury said. “She does not have the time to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi for the opposition’s meet but she has time to meet (Amit) Shah. This shows her hidden political agenda with the BJP.”
However, West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said there was nothing wrong with Banerjee meeting Shah.
“There is no harm in meeting Amit Shah because she (Banerjee) is the chief minister of Bengal. I don’t think there is anything wrong in this,” Ghosh said.
Banerjee claimed her state did not get the required assistance during natural calamities like Cyclone Fani and Bulbul, besides several other pending dues from the Centre. She raised the issue of the alleged negligence of the Centre towards her state.
“We have not got Rs 50,000 crore from the Centre,” she said.
Banerjee said she also raised the issues of delay in GST compensation payment and lowered share of states in devolution of central taxes.
Issues relating to the development of the states in the region, the need for coal royalty revision, strengthening of infrastructure were also discussed at the EZC meeting, she said.
(With inputs from PTI)
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