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Bitter rivals to finally break bread at Pranab dinner?

For the first-time after he became Prime Minister, Narendra Modi is likely to come face-to-face with his bitter rival West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. The two leaders are scheduled to meet on Friday at a dinner being hosted by the President at Rashtrapati Bhavan to honour his Bangladesh counterpart Abdul Hamid. Political observers are waiting with bated breath for the two leaders to come face-to-face, after a bitter war of attrition between the two parties in the recent past.

Sources said, Mamata was supposed to fly back to Kolkata on Friday evening but it was cancelled after she was invited for the dinner by the President. She will also meet the Bangladesh President to have a dialogue on West Bengal-Bangladesh relations and on the vexed issue of swapping  enclaves.
On Thursday evening, Banerjee met President, who is recuperating after a angioplasty surgery at an Army Referral Hospital. She had met him for 20 minutes and wished him a speedy recovery. She handed over a bouquet of yellow roses and left for 181 South Avenue. Before meeting the President, she also met her party MP Sudip Bandhyopadhyay, who is admitted at RML Hospital, with
‘peptic ulcer’.

After entering the South Block office, Modi has met every chief minister except Mamata. recently when he called a meeting of the CMs to decide on the fate of Planning Commission, she sent state Finance Minister Amit Mitra for the meeting. Earlier, in the day Mamata met party MPs at Parliament’s Central Hall and asked them to raise the issues of conversion, political vendetta by using CBI and BJP President Amit Shah’s proximity to  Sahara chief Subrato Roy.

Meanwhile, senior deputy speaker M Thambidurai, BJP leader Vijay Goel, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and NCP leader Praful Patel walked up to Banerjee in the central hall and exchanged pleasantries.

Patel who is the President of India Football Federation president sought Mamata’s help in making necessary arrangements at Rabindra Sarovar Stadium in Kolkata for the U-17 World Cup scheduled in 2017.

He told Mamata that six states including West Bengal has been selected for the matches. Patel will have an elaborate discussion with Mamata on December 24 in Kolkata.

Outside  Parliament, responding to media volleys, the fiesty leader lambasted the Modi government and accused the CBI of working at BJP’s behest.

“They are indulging in a political vendetta against TMC. The CBI is being used as a ‘political tool’ by the NDA government and is functioning as ‘a department of the PMO. They are showing a dictatorial attitude. BJP is trying to bulldoze TMC, but we will not bow down before anyone, except the people of the country,” she said, while claiming that her party had no role to play in the Saradha chit fund scam since it had not taken place under her government.

Pointing to CBI’s failure, she said, “If the CBI is important, then it should act in public interest. Till today, they have failed to locate Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel medallion, which was stolen. Has CBI
closed the case?”

“In the Gyaneshwari train accident case in 2010, around 200 people were killed. As the (then) railway minister, I had initiated a CBI inquiry, but nothing happened. In Singur, the Rizwanur Rehman case, in Nandigram, in Netai... Nothing has happened? So is the CBI a tool of the government?” she questioned.

“If you ask me the role of CBI, it is A-political vendetta, B-political-vendetta, C-political vendetta,”
she added.

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