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Will attend, says Mamata Banerjee on PM Modi’s oath event. There is fine print

The oath-taking ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his council of ministers is scheduled to be held on Thursday at 7pm.

india Updated: May 28, 2019 21:07 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Mamata Banerjee,PM Modi,Modi swearing in

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee “will try” to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony for his second term on May 30, the Trinamool Congress chief said on Tuesday.

Banerjee, who engaged in a vitriolic war of words with PM Modi during the election campaign for the national elections, stressed that attending the ceremonial event amounted to extending constitutional courtesy.

Also read | ‘BJP workers being killed for their ideology in Bengal’: PM Modi

The chief minister, according to news agency ANI, said she had discussed the invite with chief ministers of some other states where non-NDA parties are in power and they felt that they should go.

“We will attend the programme. There are certain ceremonial programmes where attending amounts to constitutional courtesy,” Mamata Banerjee said at the state secretariat before suggesting that the short notice might be the only thing standing coming in the way.

“But there is only one day in between… We will try to attend,” the chief minister said.

Banerjee had skipped PM Modi’s first oath ceremony back in 2014 citing “certain preoccupations” in the state. She had then deputed Mukul Roy, who was then her trusted lieutenant and finance minister Amit Mitra to represent Bengal. Mukul Roy had a major falling out with Mamata Banerjee and eventually crossed over to the BJP.

Just hours before Mamata Banerjee RSVP-ed on the oath ceremony, Mukul Roy announced the defection by more 50 municipal councillors and 2 Trinamool Congress legislators to the BJP, and predicted that more Trinamool lawmakers would join the BJP over the next six months.

The BJP and the Trinamool had an acrimonious political campaign where the Bengal chief minister, on one occasion said, she wanted to give PM Modi a “tight slap of democracy”. At another point, the Trinamool Congress had contended that she did not consider Narendra Modi the country’s Prime Minister. PM Modi had responded to the barb, telling an election meeting that Mamata Banerjee had “crossed all limits and lost her mental balance”.

The ruling NDA coalition’s landslide win in the parliamentary elections was also powered by its excellent showing in West Bengal. From two seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, its tally shot up to 18 out of the state’s 42 seats. The BJP has also increased its vote share to 40.25%.

First Published: May 28, 2019 19:09 IST