Sorry Modiji, won't attend your swearing-in ceremony: Mamata's snub to BJP

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 29 May 2019, 02:47 PM
Please excuse me, says Mamata Banerjee to PM Modi. (File photo)
Please excuse me, says Mamata Banerjee to PM Modi. (File photo)

In a surprise move on Wednesday and a day after confirming attendance to PM Modi's swearing-in ceremony on May 30, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted that she wouldn't attend the event at the Rashtrapati Bhawan over BJP's allegations of political murders in the state during the elections. She also said that "The oath-taking ceremony is an august occasion to celebrate democracy, not one that should be devalued by any political party." Banerjee said that there have been no political killings in Bengal and all the allegations made by the BJP are untrue. These deaths have occured due to personal enmity, family quarrels or other disputes and were not politically motivated.

On Tuesday, Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal said they will attend the oath-taking ceremony. “I have spoken to other chief ministers also. Since it is a ceremonial programme, we thought of attending it. Yes, I will go,” Banerjee had said.

An Indian government statement on Monday said the leaders of Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal, and Bhutan - all members, with India, of the little-known Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) - have been invited to Modi’s swearing-in.

“This is in line with Government’s focus on its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy,” a government spokesman said. The leaders of Kyrgyzstan and Mauritius have also been invited, but two sources in Indian’s foreign ministry said Pakistan will not be on the list, without providing further information.

For the swearing-in ceremony for Modi’s first term in 2014, all nations from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), that includes Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Maldives, were invited.In 2014 Pakistan’s then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended the ceremony.

India, however, will not invite Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to Thursday’s swearing-in ceremony. In 2014 Pakistan’s then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended the ceremony.

Modi and Khan both claimed their air forces carried out air strikes in enemy territory in March, to the alarm of world powers. Modi, who was widely believed to have benefited politically from the stand-off, won a second term with an increased majority in a general election whose results were declared last week.

Khan called Modi on Sunday to congratulate him on his win.

Modi could still meet Khan at a Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Kyrgyzstan next month, that both leaders may attend.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 02:32 PM
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