Hours after the Prime Minister’s Office reached out to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, her party announced that she will go to Dhaka next month — but only for the signing of the land boundary agreement between the two countries.
Banerjee’s stand may signal a fresh cloud of uncertainty over the Teesta water agreement.
On Thursday, the party announced on Twitter, quoting senior Trinamool minister Partha Chatterjee: “West Bengal CM is visiting Dhaka on June 6”. Within minutes, he clarified, “WB CM is visiting Dhaka for the signing of Land Boundary Agreement. Hope it will cement the ties of India and Bangladesh further.”
Sources in the Trinamool said the announcement is aimed to clarify that Banerjee will have nothing to do if the Centre pushes the long-pending Teesta water agreement during the summit meeting between PM Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka.
Sources added after Banerjee’s office informed the Centre about her reluctance to go to Dhaka, the PMO reached out directly with the CM to convince her. Modi will undertake his maiden visit to Dhaka as the PM and the foreign establishment has attached tremendous importance to the visit.
In 2011, Banerjee had refused to travel with then PM Manmohan Singh to Dhaka, embarrassing the UPA government.