Mamata may join Modi on Bangla visit

Mamata may join Modi on Bangla visit

Mamata may join Modi on Bangla visit

With all eyes on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s forthcoming Bangladesh visit, the tour has generated more interest with the word spreading that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will accompany him.

Although the Chief Minister’s Office is yet to issue an official confirmation, sources said that the tour has already been made a part of Banerjee’s itinerary in June.

With the visit most likely to take place on June 6-7 and the prime minister keen on having Banerjee as part of his delegation, sources in the state secretariat confirmed that the chief minister will be part of the visit. “It has already been updated in her diary. Close aides and officials have been notified that she won’t be in town on those dates. Gifts for Sheikh Hasina and others she is likely to meet are also being procured,” an official said.

Officials further said that the tour came up as special mention during Mamata’s recent closed-door meeting with Modi, when the latter visited Kolkata to launch three social security schemes. The chief minister is reported to have assured the prime minister that she would be part of the tour.

While this will be Banerjee’s second trip to Dhaka as chief minister, one of the highlights of the trip will be inauguration of the bus route connecting Kolkata to Agartala via Dhaka.

Although two separate routes already exist, where one can travel between Kolkata and Dhaka by road and between Dhaka and Agartala, on the other route, the new route will connect Bengal’s capital to Tripura’s capital via Dhaka, creating a new axis of Bengali-speaking people.

Sources in the state transport department informed that while the process will be supervised by the Ministry of External Affairs  and trial run is expected to take place on June 1, the route will be officially flagged off by Modi and Hasina, in the presence of Mamata. Sources pointed out that Hasina is keen on meeting Modi but Mamata holds a special place in Dhaka because of her stature as the chief minister of West Bengal, which shares cultural ties with Bangladesh.