- PM Modi starts two-day visit to West Bengal starting this evening
- PM, Mamata Banerjee may share stage twice during his visit
- Anti-CAA protests planned in the state ahead of PM's visit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of his two-day visit to West Bengal starting this evening said he is "excited" to be in the state. He said he is "delighted" to be spending time at the Ramakrishna Mission.
"I am excited to be in West Bengal today and tomorrow. I am delighted to be spending time at the Ramakrishna Mission and that too when we mark Swami Vivekananda's Jayanti. There is something special about that place," PM Modi tweeted this morning.
I am excited to be in West Bengal today and tomorrow. I am delighted to be spending time at the Ramakrishna Mission and that too when we mark Swami Vivekananda's Jayanti. There is something special about that place.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 11, 2020
"Yet, there will be a void too! The person who taught me the noble principle of 'Jan Seva Hi Prabhu Seva', the venerable Swami Atmasthananda Ji will not be there. It is unimaginable to be at the Ramakrishna Mission and not have his august presence!" PM Modi tweeted.
PM Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee are likely to share stage twice during his two-day visit. The PM has a packed weekend with inaugurations and celebrations. Ms Banerjee, who has been invited for two programmes, may attend both, say sources. She will call on the Prime Minister at the Raj Bhavan, where PM Modi will be staying overnight.
Ms Banerjee is one of the strongest critics of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) and has been holding regular protest meetings against the amended citizenship law.
A huge security arrangement is being put in place in view of protests threatened by numerous outfits against the Prime Minister over the citizenship law. Plans include 'Go Back PM' demonstrations across the city, a road block near the airport and a dharna outside the Raj Bhavan.
The Prime Minister's first engagement is the inauguration of four recently refurbished heritage buildings in Kolkata - the Currency Building, Belvedere House, Metcalfe House, and a Victoria Memorial Hall. The event will take place at the Old Currency building around 5:30 pm.
At 7 pm, PM Modi will go to Kolkata's landmark Millenium Park on the banks of river Hooghly and kick off celebrations of 150 years of the Kolkata Port Trust, India's oldest operational port. Ms Banerjee has been invited for the programme.
Sources say the most spectacular item the Prime Minister will inaugurate is new lighting for Kolkata's iconic Howrah Bridge.
The Prime Minister's Office lists the upgradation of a ship repair facility, the inauguration of upgraded infrastructure for smooth cargo movement, mechanization of a berth at Haldia.
In another celebration of the Kolkata Port Trust on Sunday, the Prime Minister will open a Kaushal Vikas Kendra and Pritilata Chhatri Avas for 200 tribal girl students in the Sunderbans.
Most poignant will be the felicitation of two Kolkata Port Trust pensioners who are both more than 100 years old. Nagina Bhagat and Naresh Chandra Chakraborty are 105 and 100, respectively.
The Prime Minister will also hand over a cheque of Rs 501 crore as final instalment to meet the deficit of pension fund of retired and existing employees of the Kolkata Port Trust.
On Saturday evening, PM Modi will take a naval boat from Kolkata to Belur, the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission.