The TMC dismissed the Ministry of External Affairs claim that the government did not receive any request for clearance for Banerjee’s visit to Chicago. TMC said the ministry’s statement on the issue was “low-on-fact argument”.
Banerjee said on Tuesday, alleged that “evil forces” threatened the Ramakrishna Mission, forcing it to cancel her trip to Chicago.
“I think some evil forces and unholy conspiracy hatched by certain people”, she could not attend the event in Chicago. They did not want Ramakrishna Mission to organise the programme there. They also didn’t want us, people of Bengal, to attend it. It pained me and saddened me a lot,” Banerjee said while speaking at the Ramakrishna Mission’s global headquarters Belur Math in Howrah district.
The MEA on the very next day reacted to the story and issued a statement stating that the Central government did not receive any clearance request for Mamata Banerjee’s visit to Chicago.
The External Affairs Ministry has dismissed reports that West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was denied permission to visit Chicago to attend the 2nd World Hindu Conference.
“We did not receive any request for clearance regarding the visit of Mamata Banerjee to Chicago for the event. The reports about the denial of permission are, therefore, not true,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to a question on the reports.
In reply to MEA’s denial, Trinamul spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’ Brien stated that the Ramakrishna Mission had invited Banerjee to be the chief guest at the event which was to be held on August 26 at the Art Institute of Chicago.
The chief minister Banerjee confirmed her participation to them but subsequently, it is learnt, that under ‘tremendous pressure’ the organizers were prevailed upon to cancel the programme.
It is common knowledge that the BJP-RSS wanted only one major programme to be held in Chicago and that would be under the banner of the Global Hindu Congress (World Hindu Foundation) and this programme would be attended by Mohan Bhagwat.
To ensure this happened, intense pressure was mounted on Vivekananda Vedanta Society in Chicago to cancel the programme for which Mamata Banerjee had confirmed. Subsequently, the programme was cancelled.
He said, “We are also reproducing the Official Statement from the U. S. Consulate General, Kolkata released at the time: (verbatim)
“The U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata is pleased to hear that West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is interested in visiting the United States as there have been no visits by a chief minister from West Bengal in many years.
The chief minister’s visit would be a good opportunity for her to highlight the possibilities in the economic and trade relationship with the United States and to experience America first hand. At this stage there have been no discussions with the U.S. Consulate General regarding the chief minister’s possible visit.”