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Mamata likely to visit Varanasi, Mumbai as TMC looks to expand footprint

The TMC chief said her party is ready to help SP in Uttar Pradesh

Mamata-banerjee-polls-salil-b West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee | Salil Bera

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, indicated that expansion plans for her party, Trinamool Congress, were well underway, with trips to PM's constituency Varanasi and Mumbai already in the pipeline.

Speaking to reporters after her meeting with Modi, Banerjee said that she raised the issue of the BSF's territorial jurisdiction in West Bengal, demanding that it be withdrawn.

"Giving more powers to the BSF leads to confrontation in law and order with the state police. We are not against the BSF. It is not right to disturb the federal structure without any reason," she said.

The chief minister also said that she has invited the prime minister to inaugurate the Global Business Summit which will be held in the state next year. 

"I also told him that we will get Rs 96,655 crore from the Centre which are pending as dues. How will states run if money due from the Centre is not provided? 

Whatever political differences we have... our ideologies are different but that should not effect the state-Centre relations. If states develop, then the Centre will develop," she said.

The chief minister said that she raised the issue of violence in Tripura in which TMC workers were allegedly assaulted by BJP workers. 

On the Uttar Pradesh elections, Banerjee said that she was open to helping Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav if he needs the TMC's help.

"If Trinamool can help defeat the BJP in UP, we will go... If Akhilesh (Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav) wants our help, we will help," she said.

The TMC chief also said while her party has "started" in Goa, regional parties should slug it out in some states.

"We have started in Goa and Haryana... but I think some places, let regional parties fight. If they want us to campaign, we will help," she said.

Days after she inducted two senior Congress leaders into her party, Banerjee said she had no plans to meet party president Sonia Gandhi during her trip this time.

Congress leader Kirti Azad and former president of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee Ashok Tanwar formally joined the party on Monday. 

"This time I sought time only from the prime minister. The leaders are all busy with Punjab polls. Work is first... Why should we meet Sonia every time? It is not constitutionally mandated," she said when asked if she was meeting Sonia Gandhi.

Banerjee also said that she would visit Varanasi since "Kamalapati Tripathi's family is now with us".

Rajeshpati Tripathi and Laliteshpati Tripathi, the grandson and the great-grandson of former UP chief minister Kamalapati Tripathi, joined the Trinamool Congress in October.

The TMC chief also said that she will meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and NCP chief Sharad Pawar during her visit to Mumbai on November 30-December 1.

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