The Oxford Union Debating Society, citing unforeseen "circumstances", on Wednesday sought to postpone a scheduled virtual address by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the last moment, drawing flak from the ruling TMC, which sniffed "political pressure from the highest level" in the matter.
Banerjee was set to become the first Indian woman chief minister to address the 'The Oxford Union Debate' around 2:30 pm, but the organisers around 1.50 pm requested that the programme be rescheduled, stating that "nothing prevails over circumstances sometimes".
Taking to Twitter, the state home department said, "Today afternoon, the organisers have suddenly sought postponement and rescheduling of the programme at the last moment!"
"The request has been made telephonically from the organisers' end, citing some unforeseen problems, a brief while ago. The programme with Oxford Union today stands cancelled."
The TMC leadership, infuriated over the development, claimed that "political pressure" might have forced the organisers to take such a call. "This is unprecedented… A programme planned months ahead was cancelled a few minutes before the event was scheduled to start.
This is not the first time that such a thing has happened. Earlier, too, her programmes at international fora and foreign visits have been cancelled at the eleventh hour.
"All sorts of pressure were applied from the highest level to stop Mamata Banerjee's address. We condemn such politics," a senior TMC parliamentarian told .