‘Not allowed to speak’ at PM meet, Mamata Banerjee to skip today’s meet

Miffed at “not being given an opportunity to speak in a meeting” chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has decided to skip a Central government-led interaction on Friday on preparations for the 150th birth year of philosopher and revolutionary leader Sri Aurobindo.

Wednesday’s meeting, discussing preparations for the 75th year of Independence celebrations (Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav), was attended by CMs of other states too.
Despite waiting for two hours, Banerjee was not given any opportunity to speak, sources said.

However, she on Thursday convened a meeting with eminent personalities and discussed the state’s plan for Amrit Mahotsav celebrations. In the meeting artist Jogen Chowdhury and poet Joy Goswami pointed out the alleged snub to Banerjee: “This was an insult to Bengal — a state which has made significant contribution to the freedom struggle.”

The chief minister later told Chief Secretary Hari Krishna Dwivedi that she would not attend the Centre’s meeting and said, “It is not right to politicise everything. We have already planned a number of programmes on Rishi Aurobindo. So, we do not need to attend the meeting. Let them arrange. We will do our own. Write a letter to inform that I will not be able to attend the meeting.” Aurobindo was born on August 15, 1872.

Listing programmes for the 75th year of Independence, she said an event would be held at the Nabanna assembly hall. A world music festival, a ‘Jayatu Netaji’ march on Subhas Chandra Bose’s birthday on January 23, lighting of different places on birth anniversaries of several sages and special programmes on Republic Day and Independence Day would be organised by the state, said Banerjee.

The chief minister said, “Tamluk University will be renamed after Gandhiji. The state has released all the information about Netaji.”Cautioning against distortion of history, she said the freedom struggle from the Battle of Plassey in 1757 to 1947 would be digitised.

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