Prime Minister Narendra Modi and one of his biggest critics, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, today shared a dais on the occasion of the convocation of Visva Bharti University in Shanti Niketan. The Prime Minister arrived here in the morning where Banerjee received him. The two leaders were seen exchanging greetings and a light moment near the helipad. They talked to each other briefly before Modi left for the event venue.
Later at the university, Modi and Banerjee were seen sharing a dais. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was also present on the occasion. The visiting Prime Minister was seen sitting next to Modi with Mamata Banerjee seated on the other side. During her stay in the university, Hasina is slated to inaugurate the Bangladesh Bhavan which houses a modern museum and library.
With this visit, Mamata Banerjee also becomes the first WB Chief Minister to attend the varsity’s convocation. In the 70s, Siddhartha Shankar Ray had attended the convocation but was not invited to the dais at that time. On reaching Santiniketan Thursday, Mamata said, “I was unaware that I will be the first Bengal CM to be present on the dais.”
— ANI (@ANI) May 25, 2018
The rare gesture from Mamata Banerjee during PM Modi’s visit comes just two days after she had joined the scores of opposition leaders in Bengaluru on the occasion of CM HD Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in ceremony. Mamata Banerjee is known for her critical attitude towards PM Modi and the BJP. She has called for forging an alliance of all non-BJP parties to give a tough challenge to the saffron party in the next year’s general election.
On Thursday, Mamata Banerjee had blasted the government over skyrocketing prices of petrol and diesel. She had asked the government to immediately take effective measures to check the rising fuel prices. In past, she has slammed the government’s demonetisation decision and hasty implementation of the GST.
Mamata is also believed to have been a key proponent of the Congress and JD(S) joining hands to prevent the BJP from coming to power in Karnataka.