Bhubaneswar: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress’ President Mamata Banerjee arrived in Odisha on Tuesday on a three-day visit.
Banerjee arrived at Biju Patnaik International Airport where she was received Odisha’s Minister of State for Home and Sports, Tusharkanti Behera. Soon after landing, she left for Puri by road with a police escort.
She is scheduled to meet Biju Janata Dal (BJD) President and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here on March 23.
“Naveen Patnaik Ji is our senior leader. I will meet him,” Banerjee told reporters at the airport. She also informed that she will offer prayer at Lord Jagannath temple in Puri.
Banerjee will stay in Puri for the next two nights. On March 22, she will visit Shree Jagannath Temple in the afternoon to offer prayers, said Puri District Collector Samarth Verma.
The Puri district administration has made security arrangements for the West Bengal Chief Minister, as per the protocol, Superintendent of Police K.V. Singh said.
Banerjee will also lay the foundation stone for construction of a Bhakta Niwas for West Bengal devotees in Puri.
On March 23, before taking the return flight to Kolkata from Bhubaneswar, she is very likely to meet Patnaik. However, Odisha CMO is yet to confirm it.
The possibilities of the one-to-one meeting between Banerjee and Patnaik has sparked speculation of the West Bengal Chief Minister’s initiative to forge an alliance of regional parties for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls without the Congress.
On Friday afternoon, she held a one-to-one meeting with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.
However, Patnaik had always maintained an independent identity of his as well as his party, by keeping an equal distance from both the BJP and the Congress. He also never inclined towards a possible third front.
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