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Friday 3 April 2020

Banerjee changes decision to attend Modi’s oath ceremony

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee accused PM-designate Narendra Modi of using a solemn occasion as a political tool

Editorials

In India

Kolkata/New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has changed her previous decision to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi and his council of ministers in protest of the BJP’s decision to invite the kin of 54 of its workers killed in political violence in the State. According to her, this figure is a falsehood; that the Trinamool was not behind the killings and some of the incidents are cases of suicide.

Banerjee holds that the recognition of these deaths by the BJP amounts to defamation of her State and party.

Banerjee has tweeted to this effect at 2:18 PM on Wednesday.

The West Bengal chief minister has accused Prime Minister-designate Modi of using a solemn occasion like the oath-taking ceremony as a political tool.

The BJP holds that more than 50 of its activists and supporters have been killed in Bengal since 2013 up to 26 May of this year. This includes cases of ‘murder’ of former Trinamool workers who joined the BJP. The national party has termed all of the victims as “martyrs”. A total of 70 people from the families of 54 late workers of the BJP have been invited to the occasion of 30 May.

Banerjee wrote in her letter posted on Twitter, “Congratulations, new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi Ji. It was my plan to accept the Constitutional invitation’ and attend the oath-taking ceremony. However, in the last hour, I am seeing media reports that the BJP is claiming 54 people have been murdered in political violence in Bengal. This is completely untrue. There have been no political murders in Bengal. These deaths may have occurred due to personal enmity, family quarrels and other disputes; nothing related to politics. There is no such record with us.”

“So, I am sorry, Narendra Modi Ji, this has compelled me not to attend the ceremony,” the Bengal chief minister wrote.

She said, “The ceremony is an august occasion to celebrate democracy, not one that should be devalued by any political party which uses it as an opportunity to score political points. Please excuse me.”

Interestingly, Banerjee has not cited the invitation as the reason for her changed decision.

On Tuesday evening, Banerjee had said that she would attend the oath ceremony “to honour democratic formalities and constitutional courtesy”.

That the BJP has invited the families of 54 of its dead workers was known by noon on Tuesday. And yet, Banerjee had said she was trying to attend the event.

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