Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and her Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma at the Raj Bhavan in Darjeeling on Wednesday and described it as a “courtesy meeting”, where nothing political, including the upcoming presidential election, was discussed.
The Chief Minister visited the Raj Bhavan after attending a function organised to commemorate the birth anniversary of poet Bhanu Bhakt in Darjeeling.
“West Bengal Governor Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar with Hon’ble Chief Minister Smt. Mamata Banerjee and Hon’ble Chief Minister Assam Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma @himantabiswa at Raj Bhawan, Darjeeling,” Dhankhar posted on his Twitter handle along with photographs of the leaders.
Interacting with reporters after the 40-minute meeting, Banerjee said, “We did not have any political discussion, including any deliberation on the presidential election. It was merely a courtesy meeting over tea. ”
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Asked whether she and Sarma had any discussion on the presidential election, Banerjee said, “How can that be possible? We belong to different parties.”
Sarma, who was at the Raj Bhavan in Darjeeling to meet Dhankhar, was present when Banerjee reached there upon receiving an invitation from the Governor. “It felt good to meet Himanta. When I had gone to Kamakhya temple, he had helped me a lot. I think our relationship must continue as there are several Assamese in West Bengal and many Bengalis in Assam. We share a border in Alipurduar district. The two state governments must keep communicating with each other,” said Banerjee.
She said Sarma gifted her ‘Gamosa’ (traditional Assamese scarf) and she reciprocated by presenting him with ‘Uttoriyo’ (traditional Bengali scarf).
Banerjee said she would not be participating in the swearing-in ceremony of the chairman of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and several other members on Thursday as she would return to Kolkata.
“I will be returning to Kolkata tomorrow. I will not participate in the oath-taking ceremony. I have already attended the swearing-in programme of some GTA members yesterday,” Banerjee said. Anit Thapa-led Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM) won the recently held GTA elections, winning 27 of the 45 seats in the semi-autonomous council.
Dhankhar tweeted earlier on Wednesday that Himanta had come to the hill at his invitation.
“Governor West Bengal Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar received today Hon’ble Chief Minister, Assam Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma @himantabiswa at Raj Bhawan, Darjeeling,” Dhankhar posted on his Twitter handle after receiving the Assam Chief Minister.
“Honoured to receive a warm welcome from Hon’ble Governor of West Bengal Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar ji at Raj Bhavan, Darjeeling,” tweeted the Assam CM.