Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 20:
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has termed meeting with his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee today at Naveen Nivas a ‘courtesy call’.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who is on a three-day visit to the state called on Naveen at his residence this afternoon.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief drove straight to Patnaik’s residence after paying obeisance to Lord Jagannath in Puri for the scheduled appointment.
The duo had a brief meeting where Patnaik termed it a ‘courtesy call’.
“I am very glad that the honourable Chief Minister of West Bengal came to pay a courtesy call today. I have also invited her for laying the foundation stone of the West Bengal Bhawan at Puri. There was no political discussion at all. It was just a courtesy call,” Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said after meeting Mamata Banerjee.
Banerjee’s visit had fanned speculation on teaming up of anti-BJP forces as the saffron party has set its eye on eastern states including Odisha and West Bengal.
“I am deeply honoured that Naveen Ji gave me some time to meet him. I know Biju Patnaik Ji very well and he was very fond of me. When he was the Chief Minister, he had sent flight for me to Raipur to bring me over here to attend a meeting. I was a Minister of State then. I remember those days. That’s why I came to pay my respect to Biju Ji and Gyan Ji. We maintain a good relationship as we are neighbours. As we are regional parties, we keep in touch. But, today we didn’t discuss about political matter because politics is not 365 days,” Mamata Banerjee said.
“I wished him good health and his party to do better,” she added.
When asked about BJP’s electoral success in the recently-concluded Assembly elections in five states, Banerjee said: “I don’t believe they are the threat. Regional parties are enough to tackle them. They divide the caste, party, and religions. We don’t do it. We want unity.”
Banerjee, however, parried queries on formation of federal front.
“There must be a federal structure to strengthen the country. It is too early to comment on the coalition,” she expressed.