Centre denies permission to Mamata for trip to Rome next month
The Centre has denied permission to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee for a visit to Rome next month where she was scheduled to attend a world peace conference.
“Central government denied permission for Didi’s Rome trip! Previously they’ve cancelled the permission of China trip too. We accepted that decision keeping international relations and India’s interests in mind. Now why Italy Modi ji? What is your problem with Bengal? Chi!” tweeted Debangshu Bhattacharya, a Trinamool Congress spokesperson..
In August this year, Banerjee was invited to attend a program by Macro Impagliazzo, the president of Community of Sant’Egidio, a Catholic association based in Rome. She was the only Indian invited to attend it.
Pope Francis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Grand Imam of Egypt’s Al-Alzhar HE Ahmad al-Tayyib among others are expected to attend the conference scheduled on October 6 and 7, 2021.
“In the letter the Union ministry of external affairs has stated that the event is not commensurate in status for participation by chief minister of a state,” said another TMC leader.
The TMC reacted sharply and mounted an attack on the Centre alleging that the BJP was playing vindictive politics.
“This is nothing but vindictive politics. The BJP has suffered a humiliating defeat in the West Bengal elections and is now desperately trying to stop Mamata Banerjee and her growing popularity in whatever way they can. They can’t digest the defeat,” said Tapas Roy, TMC spokesperson.
The TMC returned to power for the third consecutive time after a thumping victory in the assembly polls. Out of the 292 assembly seats where elections were held in March – April this year, the TMC won 213 seats. The BJP, which aimed to win more than 200 seats and form the government, could win only 77 seats.
Even the invitation letter from Rome had congratulated the Trinamool Congress supremo for her “significant election” victory in the recently held assembly polls and “for the important work for social justice, for the development of your own country, and therefore, for peace, which you have been doing for over ten years now.”
On September 15, the West Bengal chief minister along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi was listed in the Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of the year.
Earlier in September 2016, the chief minister had attended the canonization of Mother Teresa at Vatican City. The then external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj also attended it. In 2018, Banerjee had alleged that the Centre had denied her permission to visit Chicago to attend the world Hindu conference. The Centre had, however, refuted the allegations saying that it never received any request.
“The TMC doesn’t know that such decisions are not taken by the Bharatiya Janata Party. India has a foreign policy and it is the ministry of external affairs which takes the call,” said Jay Prakash Majumdar, vice president of BJP in West Bengal.