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Mamata to accompany PM during Bangladesh visit

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This follows a formal request from the Centre

In a significant development,West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday decided to accompany Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Bangladesh next month.

The decision follows a formal request from the Centre. However the West Bengal CM kept the Centre on tenterhooks as MEA officials said they had not heard officially from the State government till late on Thursday evening.

Speaking to The Hindu Trinamool Congress secretary general and State's Education Minister Partha Chatterjee confirmed the visit of the Chief Minister saying it would further strengthen the country's relation with Bangladesh. Ms. Banerjee's decision could also be the first clear sign that apart from the LBA, the two countries could even consider an accord on Teesta water sharing that has been held up by West Bengal’s concerns.

“We want a win-win situation for both India and Bangladesh. The presence of the Chief Minister will ensure that interest of West Bengal is not jeopardised,” Mr. Chatterjee said.

Teesta water treaty

The visit also assumes significance as Ms. Banerjee had refused to accompany former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to Bangladesh in September 2011. Despite much persuasion from the Centre Ms. Banerjee had opted out of visit at the eleventh hour expressing reservations over not being consulted over the proposed Teesta water sharing treaty which she had described against interest of farmers of the State.

But much water has flown down the Hooghly between September 2011 and May 2015. Ms. Banerjee was a key partner of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government then and her support was crucial to the government. While the BJP has a full majority in Lower House of Parliament there is a talk of a new bonhomie between the BJP led government at the Centre and Trinamool Congress government in State.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh who visited the State earlier this month had given hints that the West Bengal government would cooperate with key bilateral issues relating to Bangladesh particularly the Teesta water sharing treaty.

While the Chief Minister has already given her nod to the implementation of Land Boundary Agreement she has also softened her stand regarding the Teesta water sharing treaty.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 7:41:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/narendra-modis-bangladesh-visit-west-bengal-cm-mamata-to-accompany-modi/article7256769.ece

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