A rift between the Indian government in New Delhi and the government of West Bengal again widened after the Indian ministry of external affairs denied West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Bannerji from attending a global peace conference in Rome, Italy.
The peace conference – World Meeting for Peace ‘Peace as Brothers, Future earth’ – is being organized by Marco Impagliazzo, the president of the community of Sant’Egido (a Rome-based Catholic association), for the two-day event starting on October 6. Other prominent personalities attending the meeting are Pope Francis, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. The event will be centred on Mother Teresa.
Mamata Banerjee is leading her party All India Trinamool Congress in the indian state of West Bengal.
Various media reports suggested that the external affairs ministry had ruled that Banerjee’s participation in the conference did not befit her stature.
Meanwhile, Banerjee hit out against the government in New Delhi, wondering why the ministry ruled if she was “fit or unfit” to attend the meeting? Accusing the BJP of jealousy, Banerjee said that disallowing her visit had political implications and the decision had “only lowered the esteem for India in the outside world”.
The West Bengal chief minister said that she had been invited by the Italian government, giving special permission for the visit. “But now, the Central government has just denied permission,” said Mamata Banerjee.
“Earlier, I wasn’t allowed to go to Chicago,” she continued. My China visit was also cancelled. I wasn’t allowed to speak at Cambridge University, even St Stephen’s College in New Delhi … How many invitations will you cancel?,” she queried.
On Sunday, Mamata found support from an unlikely corner: BJP MP Subramanian Swamy. Swamy sought to know why Mamata was prevented from going to Rome. He tweeted, “Why was Bengal CM Mamata prevented by Home Ministry from attending an international conference in Rome ? Which law prevented her going?”