West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has indicated that she may go to Dhaka later this year accepting a pending invitation from Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, after refusing to accompany Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his Dhaka tour, that kicked off on Tuesday.
Last year, when Hasina came to New Delhi, she invited Banerjee (then railway minister) to visit Bangladesh. Banerjee had almost scheduled a visit to Dhaka to commemorate Rabindranath Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary. But finally couldn’t make it due to domestic political engagements.
Banerjee conveyed to Congress the brass that she intends to visit Bangladesh later and clarify her stand on the proposed Teesta water treaty to the friendly Hasina government. She has also told the Congress peacemakers that she is not averse to the treaty but needs to retain the interest of the state. “I have to fight elections from Bengal”, Banerjee said in close quarters.
On Tuesday, several rounds of informal meetings took place between Trinamool leaders and the Congress brass.
A key minister told some of Trinamool ministers that Banerjee should have gone keeping the larger Indo-Bangladesh ties in mind when the centre had decided to stall the Teesta agreement. Some other ministers however admit that she was not “handled with care”.
“She is the easiest or the most difficult person depending on one’s approach towards her”, a minister remarked.
Interestingly, UPA’s chief interlocutor with Banerjee, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee remained aloof from the issue since Friday. Mukherjee had spoken to PM on Friday after a brief chat with a miffed Banerjee.