Miffed Mamata drops out of Manmohan's Dhaka trip
In a move unprecedented in recent times, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, has refused to accompany Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a two-day visit to Bangladesh from September 6-7. HT reports.kolkata Updated: Sep 05, 2011 00:48 IST
In a move unprecedented in recent times, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, has refused to accompany Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a two-day visit to Bangladesh from September 6-7.
Banerjee's office informed the PMO on Sunday about her inability to go to Dhaka with the PM even as the Centre tried hard to persuade her to change her mind.
Though the Bengal government didn't state it publicly, sources close to the minister said her last-minute decision was based on her disappointment over the proposed Teesta water-sharing treaty slated to be signed during the summit in Dhaka.
Bengal government sources claimed that the Union government initially agreed with Banerjee's demand for release of 25,000 cusecs (cubic feet per second) to Bangladesh.
But in the final draft of the treaty, the central government increased the flow to 50,000 cusecs.
The sources said Banerjee decided to opt out of the trip as she feels Bengal's interests will be harmed as the state will get a reduced share of water according to the final draft.
UPA sources said the PM was keen to have Banerjee on board as four other CMs - of Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram - are to accompany him.
Bengal not only shares the longest border with Bangladesh among the Indian states but Banerjee also enjoys an excellent personal rapport with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
According to the draft treaty, waters of the Teesta would be shared between India and Bangladesh on the basis of the measurement of the flow of water at Gajoldoba Point, 25 km from Siliguri in north Bengal.