Amid the ongoing 24th Eastern Zonal Council Meet, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, on Friday, took to Twitter to share a rare photo of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Home Minister Amit Shah sharing a meal together. Patnaik also sahred photos of the meeting which aimed at strengthening National Integration & fostering healthy Centre-State relations. The photo also featured other leaders like Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan sharing a meal of 'home-cooked Odia delicacies'.
Such a pleasure having the company of Union Home Minister @AmitShah ji, my colleague CMs, @MamataOfficial, @NitishKumar ji & Union Minister @dpradhanbjp ji at Naveen Niwas. Had a wonderfully interactive time over some home cooked #Odia delicacies. pic.twitter.com/tmhfsJnDq2— Naveen Patnaik (@Naveen_Odisha) February 28, 2020
Banerjee has clarified that no talks on the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) or the National Register of Citizens (NRC) or the National population register (NPR) were held with Shah as it was not on the agenda. She had pointed out that Bengal was yet to receive relief funds for cyclon Bulbul which was raised in the meeting. In response, BJP Union Minister (MoS) Babul Supriyo appreciated that 'Banerjee had realized that politics is not always first'.
The Home Minister who chaired the Eastern Zonal Council Meet being held in Bhubaneswar discussed on integrating financial, infrastructural and technological coordination between the states in the Eastern region. The council also discussed the region contributing to the mineral wealth of the country and in turn boost the automotive and energy security of the country. The meet comprised of CMs from Bihar, Bengal, Odisha, and Jharkhand were centered on inter-State water dispute, power transmission, coal royalty, forest clearance for railway and other infrastructure projects and extension of banking and telecom services in rural pockets.
The Home Minister and the West Bengal who have often locked horns on various issues hold diametrically opposite views on CAA, NRC, and NPR. While Banerjee has maintained that CAA, NRC, and NPR will not be implemented in Bengal under her rule, Shah had previously stated that NRC will be implemented not only in Assam but in Bengal also. Though he has said that talks of nation-wide NRC have currently stopped, he has maintained that CAA will not be repealed. Shah and Banerjee also eye the significant West Bengal polls in 2021 where BJP finally wishes to gain a foothold in Bengal.