Giving a clear signal to the Congress, Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is all set to be stay away from the crucial chief minister’s conference in Delhi on internal security on June 5. The Bengal chief minister is peeved with the center for alleged ‘discrimination’ against the state as well as her recent experience of being assaulted in New Delhi.
The meeting assumes importance following the Chhattisgarh carnage and her absence is significant since it is her successful anti-Maoist model in Bengal is not only been praised at the center but also replicated in different states.
“Mamata Banerjee has no plans of being present in the meeting in the capital. It is likely that a representative will be sent. She is very busy in the state,” said a senior Trinamool Congress leader close to Mamata Banerjee. Sources indicated that state finance minister Amit Mitra, or somebody equally senior, is likely to take her place in the meeting.
For the meeting union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde is inviting the chief ministers over telephone.
The main agenda of the meeting is expected to be the Maoist menace following the May 25 carnage in Chhattisgarh, which killed 27 people including senior Congress leaders. Chief ministers of all Maoist affected states is expected to be present minus Bengal.
“It meeting was crucial since a road map for anti-Maoist operations is expected to be discussed. It would have been good if the Bengal chief minister was present since she is most successful in tackling the menace in her state,” said a union home department official.
However, sources close to her stated that it is a clear signal to Congress before the Lok Sabha polls that she wants to maintain distance with UPA at a time when Lok Sabha polls and knocking at the doors.
Mamata Banerjee has already distanced herself from her former ally. Recently, she called for ‘parivartan’ in New Delhi after the Lok Sabha polls. In recent rallies and public meetings she had been constantly attacking Congress for ‘discrimination’ against a cash-strapped Bengal. Even during campaigning for Howrah Lok Sabha by poll she lambasted the Congress and made it clear that the end of the UPA regime would be her primary goal in the Lok Sabha polls.
On April 9 Mamata went to New Delhi last. That visit hit the headlines when she and her ministers walked into a demonstration by the SFI and finance minister Amit Mitra was heckled outside the Planning Commission office. Following the heckling, Mamata cancelled her meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and returned to Kolkata. The manner in which the union home ministry handled the incident further infuriated her.