Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday expressed her anxiety over the abnormal hike in fuel prices in the country after arriving at Bolpur to attend the convocation of Visva Bharati University (VBU) and the inauguration of Bangladesh Bhawan in Santiniketan on Friday.
At a Press conference in Bolpur this evening, Miss Banerjee said that the hike of fuel prices is a matter of great concern and the Centre should immediately roll back the price hike.
“I have already urged the regional parties to lodge a combined protest and start agitation on this issue,” she added. She said that the matter was discussed during the tea break in Bangalore, where she attended the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy.
“Let there be a nationwide protest,” she said. Miss Banerjee said that tomorrow(Friday) onwards, the Trinamul Congress will start an agitation on the fuel price hike.
“I have opposed since the days of notebandi at the burden on economy due to demonetisation and again in implementation of GST. I have opposed the issue of bringing back black money in the country. But tomorrow(Friday), heads of two countries will be present here so I will definitely not bring politics here,” she said, adding that transportation cost has increased and farmers are also affected by the hike.
Miss Banerjee said that she will be present during the bilateral talk between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart, Sheikh Hasina Wajed, at Bolpur in the afternoon.
She said that this will be the second time that she attended the convocation ceremony of VBU as many years ago, she had accompanied late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. However, she will be the first chief minister to share the podium with the chancellor of VBU at the convocation ceremony.
“I will meet Seikh Hasinaji day after tomorrow(Friday) at Kolkata in the evening. I have good relations with her and she is coming with her sister, Rehana,” she added. Miss Banerjee said that she is unhappy that the highest award of Deshikottamawill not be conferred this year by VBU during the convocation.
“This year’s receipents included Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, singer Dwijen Mukherjee, painter Jogen Choudhury etc. All seven of them are above politics and deserved it,” she felt.
She said that though the governor, Mr Keshari Nath Tripathi, will be hosting a dinner party tomorrow(Friday), she is not sure if she will be able to attend it. “I don’t know if I will get time to talk tomorrow(Friday) with Mr Modi regarding rollback of fuel price as he has a very busy schedule at Santiniketan,” she added.
The inauguration of Bangladesh Bhawan will further improve the Indo-Bangla ties, she felt. “I am excited to attend the convocation ceremony and will be sitting between two Prime Ministers tomorrow,” she said. She, however, refused to say anything about taking up the Teesta issue on Friday.