Published:  01:47 AM, 12 January 2020

Modi lands in Kolkata amid citizenship law protests

Modi lands in Kolkata amid citizenship law protests Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in Kolkata on Saturday afternoon amid protests against the amended citizenship act across the West Bengal capital with chief minister Mamata Banerjee planning to take part in one such an agitation.

Protests had started in different parts of Kolkata hours before the Prime Minister's arrival, especially along the route his convoy is going to take, reports Hindustan Times.

Youths, political parties and various apolitical outfits shouted slogans against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and carried banners that said, "Go Back, Modi."

Black flags were visible everywhere. By 3pm, members of the Left-backed students' unions started gathering in huge number outside the Kolkata airport. Mamata Banerjee will be present at the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad's sit-in demonstration at Esplanade, not far from Raj Bhawan, started by its leaders on Friday evening.

One of Banerjee's ministers, Siddiqullah Chowdhury, who is also a leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, has organised rallies in Kolkata and Murshidabad district. Chowdhury will lead a Jamiat rally in Murshhidaba against CAA.

The Congress, on its part, accused Banerjee of having a tacit understanding with Modi. "She boycotted the all-party meeting against citizenship law that Sonia Gandhi convened in Delhi on January 13 but fixed an appointment with Modi on January 11.

Her real intentions are out in the open," said Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra.Modi, who was received at the airport by Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, mayor Firhad Hakim and the BJP state unit president Dilip Ghosh, wanted last-minute change in his two-day tour.

He has expressed his wish to spend the night at Belur Math and not Raj Bhawan as planned earlier. And, monks at the math in Howrah district said they were making preparations for Modi's stay.

According to the new tentative schedule, the Prime Minister will attend two official programmes in Kolkata and return to Raj Bhawan where he will meet leaders of the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party and also hold a meeting with Mamata Banerjee. Modi will then go to Belur Math to spend the night.

TMC leaders said Banerjee may meet Modi either at the Millennium Park by the Hooghly River, where the Prime Minister will inaugurate a light and sound show or at Raj Bhawan.The final schedule will depend on circumstances and their convenience, they said.Before reaching the city, Modi had tweeted about his plans.

"I am excited to be in West Bengal today and tomorrow. I am delighted to be spending time at the Ramakrishna Mission and that too when we mark Swami Vivekananda's Jayanti.

There is something special about that place," Modi said in a tweet in Bengali.In another tweet, he said he would miss Atmasthanandaji Maharaj, the president of Ramakrishna Math, who died at the age of 98 last year.

"Yet, there will be a void too! The person who taught me the noble principle of 'Jan Seva Hi Prabhu Seva', the venerable Swami Atmasthananda Ji will not be there. It is unimaginable to be at the Ramakrishna Mission and not have his august presence!" he said.

On Sunday morning, Modi is likely to take part in rituals marking the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. He will then attend the 150th-anniversary celebration of the Kolkata Port and fly back to Delhi.

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