Mamata Banerjee said that her counterparts need prior invitations for the INDIA bloc meet (File)
Amid speculations that Mamata Banerjee is likely to skip the INDIA bloc meeting due to scheduling issues, the West Bengal Chief Minister clarified, saying that the opposition leaders will be meeting shortly whenever the Congress comes up with a favourable date.
"I was not informed earlier. Only a day before yesterday, Rahul called me up and told me about the meeting...We will be meeting shortly whenever they decide," Mamata Banerjee said before leaving for her scheduled North Bengal tour on Wednesday.
Speaking about scheduling issues, the Chief Minister said that her counterparts need prior invitations at least seven or ten days in advance.
"Other Chief Ministers also have meetings. They need to know about the program seven days ago or 10 days ago," she said.
On the disaster in Tamil Nadu, triggered by Cyclone Michaung, in which at least individuals have died, she said, "There was so much rainfall in Tamil Nadu. No one can leave their state for a meeting during a disaster. We are concerned about Tamil Nadu and we have already sent our condolences. If they require any help from us we are ready to do it."
Speaking on her wedding engagement, due to which she could not attend the opposition meeting, she said, "Someone from my family is getting married to a girl from the hills. Both of them are doctors and are friends. I usually do not participate in family occasions. But tomorrow, after marriage, they will come to take my blessings."
Sharing her travel itinerary in North Bengal, Mamata Banerjee said, "The day after tomorrow I have a program in Kurseong. On the 9th, I'll go to Alipurduar, where I have a meeting on the 10th. On the 11th, I'll be going to Banarhat, where I have a distribution program. I'll come back to Uttar Kanya on the 11 and on the 12th I have a program in Siliguri. From there I will come back. I will be covering four districts on my trip."
Speaking on the ongoing Kolkata Film Festival, she said, "The Film Festival is going on...The way Bollywood, Tollywood, and Hollywood have come together is remarkable."
Taking on the BJP over the stopping of funds to West Bengal,she charged the Centre, saying why they had not stopped MGNREGA funds to Uttar Pradesh despite the state reporting the highest number of fake job cards.
"In Uttar Pradesh so many of the job card numbers are false, why have the Rural Department not taken any action on that? They have given them enough money. Then why have you stopped funds for 100 days of work, for rural roads, for houses, Mid-day meals?" she asked.
"For Health Mission, they say that they have to change the colour (of health and wellness centres) to theirs (BJP) to get funding. What is this? This is not right," the Chief Minister added.
Further speaking on the investigation by central government teams in West Bengal in connection to scams in the Centre's schemes, she said that it would only serve as "political fodder" for the BJP workers.
"They have sent 107 teams to West Bengal. Let them send more. They are coming just to give political food to BJP workers," she said.
Mamta Banerjee said that the BJP promises something before the elections and after the conclusion of the polls, they say something else.
"They have picked pockets the most. Starting from demonetization to 15 lakhs in every account...They say something during the election and after the polls, they say something else," she added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)