West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is torn between political rivalry and economic compulsions as the party ponders whether or not to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister of May 26.
From Tuesday evening, the party leaders started debating the pros of cons as a lot is at stake depending on the relation the Trinamool Congress leader is going to strike with Narendra Modi.
Mamata remains, perhaps, the only leader who has not congratulated Modi on his spectacular victory.
If Trinamool leaders attend the swearing in on Monday evening, the display of courtesy may contribute to the building of bridges between the two leaders after a particularly vicious campaign for the Lok Sabha polls.
Burdened with a mountain of debt, the state is going through extreme financial crisis – debt obligations consume more than 70% of its revenue – and is campaigning for a fiscal relief package from the Centre.
A lot is on stake on the party front, too, as the CBI probe in the Saradha scam might encompass senior party leaders and MPs.
“I have no information on this question. Our party chief will take the final decision,” said Kalyan Banerjee who has been selected as the chief whip of the party in Lok Sabha.
Even party general secretary, Mukul Roy, who was in Delhi said no decision has yet been taken on the crucial question.
Mamata had led a high-pitch campaign against the BJP leader in very strong words that sometimes transgressed the limits of etiquette. She said Modi should be tied with a rope and dragged to prison, called him a blood-thirsty rioter and the butcher of Gujarat, apart from questioning his relation with his wife.
Meanwhile, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, not known for attending formal functions of others, is also unlikely to attend Modi’s swearing in.
The chief minister had skipped the swearing in ceremony of Manmohan Singh in 2004 and 2009.