'Why? Is it mandatory?' Mamata on meeting Sonia Gandhi

'Why? Is it mandatory?' Mamata Banerjee on meeting Sonia Gandhi in Delhi

But the meeting took place, neither on Tuesday nor on Wednesday, amid signs of growing acrimony between the two opposition parties

Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lost her cool on Wednesday when a journalist asked her about her meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

“Why? Is it mandatory to meet every time?” Banerjee retorted as the journalist asked her in New Delhi if she would meet Gandhi before returning to Kolkata on Thursday. The Trinamool Congress chief went on to ask the journalist if it was a constitutional requirement for her to meet the top brass of the Congress every time she would visit the national capital.

She, however, later said that she would meet Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray and the Nationalist Congress Party patriarch Sharad Pawar during her visit to Mumbai on December 1.

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Banerjee arrived in New Delhi on Monday and was expected to meet Gandhi on Tuesday, just as she had met her during her last visit to New Delhi in July.

But the meeting took place, neither on Tuesday nor on Wednesday, amid signs of growing acrimony between the two opposition parties.

“I did not seek any appointment from them. I know they are busy with preparations for Assembly elections in Punjab. Let them work for their party,” Banerjee said when another journalist asked her if she had asked for a meeting with Gandhi.

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The Trinamool Congress supremo rather indicated her intent to expand the Trinamool Congress to Bihar, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan. She admitted into her party former Congress MP from Haryana, Ashok Tanwar, who was once well known as a close confidante of Rahul Gandhi. She also welcomed into her party former MP from Darbhanga in Bihar and cricketer-turned-politician Kirti Azad, who had quit the Bharatiya Janata Party to join the Congress in February 2019.

She told journalists on Wednesday that the Trinamool Congress would continue to expand its bases beyond West Bengal, beginning with Goa and Tripura.

Banerjee had earlier opened her party’s door for two well-known leaders of the Congress – like Luizinho Faleiro in Goa and Sushmita Dev, a former Lok Sabha MP from Assam, to oversee its campaign in neighbouring Tripura.

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The Congress accused the Trinamool Congress of trying to weaken it and thus ruining the possibility of bringing the opposition parties together to take on the BJP.

“We are not engineering split in any other party. But if someone wants to come to the Trinamool Congress after being convinced by our good works, there is nothing wrong in it,” Banerjee told journalists in New Delhi on Wednesday.

She had a few weeks back alleged that Congress was not serious about fighting the BJP.

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