Why was West Bengal left out of talks with Bangladesh, asks Mamata Banerjee

Bengal Chief Minister has opposed Teesta treaty, a crucial bilateral issue

September 08, 2022 02:55 pm | Updated September 09, 2022 01:32 am IST - Kolkata  

File picture of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who slammed the Centre for not involving West Bengal in talks with Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina

File picture of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who slammed the Centre for not involving West Bengal in talks with Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina | Photo Credit: PTI

 

Mamata Banerjee on Thursday claimed that Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had expressed her desire to meet the West Bengal Chief Minister during her recent visit to India but the Union government kept the State out of the deliberations in Delhi.

“For the first time I have seen that during discussions with Bangladesh, West Bengal has been kept out,” Ms. Banerjee said addressing a party gathering in Kolkata. The Chief Minister emphasised that she maintains good relations with ‘Hasina ji’ and both the leaders exchange gifts during Durga Puja and Eid. Ms. Banerjee wondered aloud what the reasons for keeping her out of the discussions were and asked why the higher-ups in government at the Centre were angry with her. 

Also read | Officials reject Mamata Banerjee's criticism of Centre for not inviting her during Sheikh Hasina's visit

Among crucial bilateral issues pending between India and Bangladesh is the Teesta Water sharing treaty, which Ms. Banerjee has publicly opposed. 

Invitation to Central Vista inauguration

 The Chief Minister said that she received a letter from an officer of the rank of Under Secretary asking her to be present in Delhi today for the Central Vista inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “They are writing as if we are bonded labourers. An Under Secretary cannot write to a Chief Minister. The Minister of Culture has become so big that he cannot write to CMs,” she said.

 Speaking to her party’s booth-level workers, the Trinamool Congress chairperson targeted the Centre on hosts of issues from delay in payment of MGNREGA workers and “misuse” of central agencies. Ms. Banerjee said that the MP-LAD (local area development) and MLA-LAD funds will be used for construction of houses for the poor.

Will be difficult for BJP in 2024, says Mamata

 Ms. Banerjee also added that all the Opposition parties will come together and BJP will find it difficult to form the government.

“In 2024  Khela Hobe,  the game will start from Bengal. Now we all are together.  Nitish Kumar is there, Akhilesh Yadav is there, Hemant Soren is there, and I am there and our friends are there.. We all will come together.  They are going around proudly with 275-300 seats, Rajiv Gandhi had 400 seats but could not hold onto it.  In these five States the BJP will lose 100 seats. So, tell me how they will form the government,” Ms. Banerjee said at the rally.

Slams central agencies

 The Chief Minister said that she wants the central agencies to be more aggressive because she is sure that in the end nothing will be proved against her party leaders in a court of law.

 “They think that by arresting some strong leaders of the party the people in districts will get scared and the BJP will get an opportunity,” she said. The Chief Minister once again came to the defence of arrested Birbhum district president of the party Anubrata Mondal, who has been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the cross-border cattle smuggling scam.

 “Yesterday Moloy (Ghatak) put up a fight… By putting Kesto (Anubrata Mondal) behind bars they think they will win a few seats... He will have to be released with pride,” Ms. Banerjee added. 

 “A wounded tiger is more dangerous than a tiger,” she said, coining a new slogan for her supporters: “We don’t want agencies. We want jobs”.  

The TMC chairperson alleged that Communist Party of India (Marxist) was hand and glove with the BJP and money is being paid to “a section of minorities so that they can turn away their faces against us”.

The Chief Minister also told party workers to maintain discipline, be careful of what they speak in public and said that they have been given the opportunity to work for the people and not for themselves. Ms. Banerjee along with TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee assured that upcoming panchayat elections will be peaceful in the State following which the party will prepare for 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Panchayat elections in the State are scheduled in 2023.

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