Centre did not allow me to meet Bangladesh PM Hasina: Mamata Banerjee

Chief minister of India's West Bengal Mamata Banerjee with prime minister Sheikh Hasina in Kolkata on 22 November, 2019File photo

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday lambasted the BJP-led Centre for not inviting her to meet visiting Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

Addressing her party members at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata, Banerjee said, “This is the first time the prime minister of Bangladesh came to India and did not come to Bengal despite her desire to meet me.”

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo said she wanted to know why the BJP-led Centre was worried about her meeting with Hasina. Mamata said she should not speak on bilateral ties or external affairs of the country.

She further alleged that the Centre attempts to prevent her from visiting foreign countries whenever she was invited.

“I do not know why they (BJP) are so angry. They also did not let me go to many places including Chicago and China to attend events. While BJP attends invitations globally, they stop us from attending the same. We ask: How long will you continue your autocracy?” Mamata said.

Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina arrived in New Delhi on Monday on a four-day visit to India to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries.

Bangladesh is an important partner under India’s “Neighbourhood First” policy.

Soon after arriving in New Delhi on Monday, Bangladesh prime minister met his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and held bilateral talks to review and further strengthen the relationship between both countries at Hyderabad House, following which seven MoUs have been signed between the two countries.

Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina, during the joint press statement at Hyderabad House, expressed hope that the issue of Teesta water sharing with India will be resolved soon.

“The two countries have resolved many outstanding issues and we hope that all outstanding issues, including Teesta water-sharing treaty, would be concluded at an early date,” she said in a joint statement with PM Narendra Modi.

The Teesta river dispute is an important point of bilateral talks between India and Bangladesh. Both countries signed an agreement in 2011 to share surface waters at the Farakka Barrage near their mutual border.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has reservations over the Teesta water sharing with Bangladesh.

Sheikh Hasina also met president Droupadi Murmu and vice-president Jagdeep Dhankhar in New Delhi. On Tuesday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called on Hasina.