West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is slated to reach Patna a day in advance of the meeting of non-BJP parties convened by the Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar on June 23.
Highly placed Trinamool Congress sources said that the chief minister is expected to reach Patna on June 22 afternoon and there is a possibility of her meeting with former Bihar chief minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad.
The probable meeting on this count is being viewed as quite crucial as Mamata Banerjee has already made it clear that she would not be able to provide support to the Congress in West Bengal because of the latter's alliance with CPI(M)-led Left Front in the state.
Political observers feel that since Congress will also be present at the meeting there is a possibility that any representative of the country's oldest national party might seek some clarifications on Trinamool Congress stand on this issue. In that case, observers feel, Lalu Prasad being a veteran politician and having extremely good relations with a number of senior Congress leaders might act as a mediator.
Initially, the grand alliance meeting at Patna was scheduled on June 12. However, later it was postponed to June 23.
In fact, when Nitish Kumar along with Bihar's deputy chief minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav had a meeting with Mamata Banerjee at the West Bengal secretariat this month, she requested Kumar to initiate convening the grand opposition alliance meeting at Patna only. The Bihar chief minister assured her of that and on the basis of the assurance he convened the meeting.
The meeting on June 23 is happening when the Congress state president in West Bengal and veteran party Lok Sabha member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has said that in the state Trinamool Congress will continue to be an equal opponent like the BJP for Congress. He had also expressed doubts that the BJP was trying to implant some Trojan Horses within the opposition alliance. Chowdhury's doubts have been echoed by senior CPI(M) leaders like party's central committee member Sujan Chakraborty and Rajya member Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya.