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Mamata's not going to Dhaka a gimmick: Left

Mamata's not going to Dhaka a gimmick: Left

The Trinamool Congress, however, blamed the previous Left regime of the state for vetting the treaty.

Kolkata: West Bengal's Left Front on Monday assailed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's decision to cancel her trip to Dhaka in protest against the final draft of the Teesta water sharing agreement, calling it a 'gimmick' and expressed apprehension that it would affect the sensitive India-Bangladesh bilateral ties.

However, Banerjee's Trinamool Congress attacked the Left Front, saying the treaty was 'acceptable' to it during their rule, while the Congress was guarded in its reaction.

Banerjee, whose Trinamool Congress is the second largest constituent of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), on Sunday cancelled her trip to Dhaka with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in protest against the final draft of the Teesta water sharing agreement.

"What was she doing all these days? This is nothing more than a gimmick to project a revolutionary image. This decision also brings out lack of coordination between the two UPA allies," Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) central committee member Mohammed Salim said.

"What were the two parties doing during the discussion and finalisation of the draft? This is a ploy to confuse the masses," Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) state secretary Kshiti Goswami said.

Banerjee's unhappiness stemmed from the amount of water sharing of the river Teesta mentioned in the final draft of the agreement which is slated to be signed during the prime minister's two-day official visit to the Bangladesh capital beginning September 6.

Left Front ally, Forward Bloc (FB) felt that Banerjee's decision to backtrack from the visit will hamper Indo-Bangladesh bilateral ties.

"Bangladesh has always been a sensitive issue to India. This will surely hamper Indo-Bangladesh relationship. A friendly neighbour is always needed strategically," FB general secretary Debabrata Biswas said.

The Trinamool has 19 MPs in the Lok Sabha. The Trinamool and the Congress also run a coalition government in West Bengal.

However, the state Congress unit decided to walk the tightrope and felt that an amicable solution should be reached.

"I don't think it would hamper the relation. A fine balance must be struck to uphold the interest of West Bengal together with the imperative of good neighbourly relation," state Congress spokesperson Om Prakash Mishra said.

The Trinamool Congress, however, blamed the previous Left regime of the state for vetting the treaty.

"This treaty was acceptable to the Left Front regime. But we have come to power only recently and were not aware of the nitty-gritty of the treaty. The centre also tried to go ahead without consulting us," Trinamool Congress leader and union Minister of State for Tourism Sultan Ahmed told IANS.

first published:September 05, 2011, 17:49 IST