Jaitley-Mamata meet may formalise TMC-BJP issue based coordination

New Delhi, June 13 (IANS) A likely meeting between Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata this month may formalise issue-based coordination between the two parties, sources in the BJP said here on Monday.

Fresh from the success in Assam and also the recent elections to the Rajya Sabha, the BJP is all the more keen to establish good working relations with regional chieftains and pass important bills like the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill will meet in Kolkata for a two-day conclave from June 14 (Tuesday).

To be presided over by West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra, chairman of the empowered panel, Jaitley is likely to attend the meeting on the first day.

“Jaitley, who also holds the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, is also likely to be in Kolkata for an All India Radio function on June 28. Prasar Bharati has invited West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also for the meeting. Jaitley and Mamata Banerjee can also meet separately for a one on one deliberation,” the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) source told IANS here.

The BJP has already made it clear that with its enhanced numbers in the Rajya Sabha after the recent biennial elections, the government will like to fast track the process of passing of GST Bill to give the reform process the much needed direction.

Mamata Banerjee has already declared her support to the GST.

The bill for a pan-India GST to thoroughly overhaul India’s indirect tax regime has been passed by the Lok Sabha, but is stalled in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling National Democratic Alliance currently lacks majority.

After the just concluded state assembly elections where the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress recorded a major victory, the BJP has tried to reach out to the regional outfit.

On June 10, Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu called on Mamata Banerjee in her office and both leaders discussed projects and a road map to consider a joint venture between the state administration and the railways for infrastructure development. Prabhu later also described Banerjee as a “successful railway minister”.

Meanwhile, BJP sources said on June 28, President Pranab Mukherjee will launch All India Radio’s (AIR) special Bangla service, Akashvani Maitree.

According to Prasar Bharati, the new radio service will cater to the audience of West Bengal as also Bangladesh with the idea of promoting friendship with India’s eastern neighbour.

The new service, which will be launched from West Bengal’s Chinsurah, about 35 km north of Kolkata, will also have programmes on mutual cultural and educational interests.



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