Mamata reaches Mumbai, chants 'Jai Maratha, Jai Bangla'

Mamata Banerjee reaches Mumbai, chants 'Jai Maratha, Jai Bangla'

Her visit assumes larger political significance when the winter session of Parliament is underway

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Credit: PTI Photo

"Jai Maratha, Jai Bangla", said West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee as she landed in Mumbai on Tuesday for a whirlwind during which she would root for opposition unity to take on the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. 

After landing at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Mamata Didi - as she is popularly known - visited the Siddhivinayak Temple at Dadar-Prabhadevi where she sought the blessings of Lord Ganesh, the presiding deity of Maharashtra. 

Banerjee was welcomed by Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir Trust Chairman Aadesh Bandekar who presented her with a Ganesh idol. 

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“Ganpati Bappa Moraya,” said Banerjee inside the temple and interacted with the trustees.

Emerging out of the temple, she said that she prayed for the good health of Maharashtra chief minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray. “I was eager to meet him…but he is in hospital and we must go by the advice of doctors,” she said.

From there she proceeded to Girgaum Chowpatty, where she paid floral tributes to the bust of Tukaram Omble, the assistant sub-inspector, who captured Pakistani fidayeen Mohammed Ajmal Kasab alive during the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai. “I pay tributes to all the police and security personnel who made the supreme sacrifice to keep all of us safe,” she said. 

Banerjee would be camping at the Trident Hotel along Marine Drive.

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On Tuesday night, Thackeray’s son and state’s protocol, environment and tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray and Shiv Sena chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut called on her and the two met for about 45 minutes.

“It was a very good meeting,” Aaditya said, adding that she wished speedy recovery to his father. “We share a special bond,” he added after the meeting. During the meeting Aaditya presented a coffee-table book on aerial photography of Thackeray.

"We welcome her to Mumbai and Maharashtra. We had met her even 2 to 3 years back when she had visited Mumbai. We came to carry forward that friendship. We discussed many issues but we came here to welcome her to Mumbai,” he added.

“West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is in Mumbai. She has inquired about chief minister Uddhav Thackeray's health. She wanted to meet the chief minister, but due to health restrictions the meet is not happening,” said Raut.

On Wednesday, she would meet NCP supremo Sharad Pawar at his Silver Oak bungalow.

“Mamata Didi is on a Maharashtra tour and she will meet Pawar saheb on Wednesday. It’s a courtesy call,” said NCP chief spokesperson and state minority affairs minister Nawab Malik.

Also Read | Mamata on Mumbai visit, to meet Sharad Pawar, Aaditya Thackeray

The visit assumes larger political significance when the winter session of Parliament is underway.

It may be mentioned that Shiv Sena and NCP, which shares power with Congress in Maharashtra, has publicly hailed Banerjee for the way she single-handedly put up a fight against BJP in West Bengal.

Thackeray has even hailed her as the “Bengal Tigress” and congratulated her during Shiv Sena’s annual Dussehra rally, Thackeray said: “I want to congratulate the people of West Bengal….are you ready for such a thing in Maharashtra.” 

Banerjee has been close to the Thackeray family and enjoyed the blessings of the late Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray.

Get rid of people like Prashant Kishor: Maharashtra Congress

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Congress asked her to get rid of “neo-politicians” like Prashant Kishor if she wants to do real politics and take on the BJP. “Rahul Gandhi ji is fighting the RSS, BJP, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah and Mamata ji is fighting Rahul Gandhi ji and the Congress. Mamata ji, advertently or inadvertently, making the mistakes that Mulayam Singh and Mayawati and others have committed in the past by helping the BJP by opposing the Congress,” Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary and media coordinator Zakir Ahmed said.

“Mamata ji is becoming a victim of misunderstanding of herself. She should get rid of the neo politicians like Prashant Kishor if she were to do real politics,” he added.

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