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Mamata Banerjee to Meet PM Narendra Modi With ‘Long List’

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NEW DELHI:  Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of Bengal, will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi shortly to discuss what she calls a “long list” that includes her state’s financial crisis.

The meeting comes in the middle of the government’s last ditch attempts to bring the opposition on board on its controversial land bill, which it wants to push in Parliament this week.

Sources say the land bill is expected to come up during Ms Banerjee’s meeting with the prime minister.

Opposition parties led by the Congress describe the government’s proposed bill as anti-farmer. Sources say the government is considering half a dozen amendments to address that criticism.

“We are against the forceful land acquisition bill,” Ms Banerjee told reporters after arriving in Delhi.

The Chief Minister had sought the appointment with PM Modi last week. On Sunday, she faced barbs from the Left, which questioned whether she is planning a “ghar wapasi (homecoming).”

Barring an accidental meeting at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in December, Ms Banerjee has avoided PM Modi since he came to power in May, not even sending a representative to the first meeting in February of the Niti Aayog, which has replaced the Planning Commission.

Ms Banerjee has said that she will discuss her state’s financial crisis with the prime minister.

“The previous government and the current government, both had said the Finance Commission would address our financial crisis. But it did not. So this meeting was necessary,” she had said on Wednesday.

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