Mamata Banerjee may not be in Delhi during Sheikh Hasina's October 3-6 visit

Ms. Banerjee’s non-participation will cast a shadow on the talks, as both sides have been in protracted negotiations on Teesta water sharing that requires engagement with her.

Updated - September 21, 2019 03:28 pm IST

Published - September 21, 2019 02:56 pm IST - NEW DELHI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee speaks with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. File Photo.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee speaks with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. File Photo.

It appears that when Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visits India from October 3 to 6, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is unlikely to be a part of the bilateral talks to be held in New Delhi.

Ms. Banerjee’s non-participation will cast a shadow on the talks, as both sides have been in protracted negotiations on Teesta water sharing that requires engagement with her. She has previously participated in similar discussions. In 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured Ms. Hasina of sharing the water of the Teesta in the presence of Ms. Banerjee in the Hyderabad House here.

During his August 20 visit to Dhaka, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar reminded Bangladesh about India's commitment to share the Teesta water as per the ongoing discussions. However, diplomatic sources indicated that no progress was expected on the crucial issue during Ms. Hasina's visit.

Informed sources said Ms. Hasina would call on President Ram Nath Kovind, Congress President Sonia Gandhi apart from holding bilateral discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 5. However, a meeting with Ms. Banerjee is not yet on her agenda.

Ms. Hasina's visit coincides with the Durga Puja celebrations from October 4 to 8 . As the Chief Minister, Ms. Banerjee will have several engagements in Kolkata during this time. A discussion on the participation of Ms. Banerjee in the official talks did not take place during her visit to Delhi earlier this week.

Ms. Banerjee met Mr. Modi on September 18, where the discussion focused on her plan to rename West Bengal. In her meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah, she raised the Assam National Register of Citizens. It’s reliably learnt that the visit of Ms. Hasina did not figure in the talks.

Mr. Modi will hold discussion with Ms. Hasina in New York on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly meeting.

The Bangladesh leader will begin her India visit by participating in the non-governmental India Economic Summit (IES). Its other participants will be tennis star Sania Mirza and entrepreneur Shobana Kamineni. At similar summits in the recent past, Ms Hasina has highlighted the economic and investment potentials of her country. At the IES, she is expected to present Bangladesh as a success story.

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