Kolkata(PTI): Describing the one-to-one between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as "political opportunism", opposition parties in West Bengal on Sunday criticised the interaction.
"The meeting and sharing of stage by the two leaders is the final scene of the drama which their respective parties had played since last year's Lok Sabha polls to fool the people of this state," CPI-M politburo member Mohammed Salim told PTI. The religious card played by both the parties only "complimented and supplemented" their brand of politics in Bengal, Salim alleged.
Banerjee, was a bitter critic of Modi and his policies since last year's Lok Sabha poll. The relationship between the two plumbed the depths last year when the chief minister refused to attend several meetings called by Prime Minister Modi. Modi too during his election campaign in Bengal last year had criticised the Trinamool Congress government as regards the multi-crore Saradha scandal, promising to book the guilty.
"This meeting is nothing but a political bonhomie between the two as the TMC needs the help of the Union government to save itself from the clutches of CBI in the Saradha scam and BJP needs the support of TMC MPs in the Rajya Sabha to pass various anti-people bills," Salim said. The Congress too slammed Modi for talking about corruption of the Congress but keeping mum on the Saradha scam.
"The PM was talking about corruption during Congress rule an a programme in Burnpur. But what about corruption of the TMC and Saradha scam? Is he not aware that a minister of the TMC government is serving jail in Saradha scam? Why was he mum? This proves that something is wrong and a political understanding has taken place," Congress leader Abdul Mannan said.
Modi during his speech today at Burnpur, took a dig at the previous UPA regime, saying media was full of reports on all kinds of "scams" in that period. "Now, the reports are not about coal scam but about coal auction," he said, adding there has been no report of any scam even as his government gets ready to complete one year this month.
State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury alleged that meeting between the two was the result of a political understanding to subvert the CBI investigation into the Saradha scam and in turn help the BJP to pass bills in the Rajya Sabha. State Parliamentary Affairs Minister and senior TMC leader Partha Chatterjee on the other hand insisted that the meeting between the two was a political courtesy.
"The Opposition till yesterday was crying hoarse over political violence, now they are saying political understanding. They should first decide what to say and what not to. Those who have been rejected by the masses are coming up with various excuses. The meeting was between the PM and CM, which is quite natural in a federal structure," Chatterjee told PTI.
State BJP chief Rahul Sinha too ruled out political understanding between his party and the TMC and said the meeting was strictly within the bounds of the Constitution. A meeting between the CM and PM is quite normal for the benefit of the state.