Mamata Banerjee is unlikely to attend a video conference Prime Minister Narendra Modi has convened with chief ministers on Covid-19 in the country on Wednesday because of her prescheduled public meetings in Jhargram.
Sources at Nabanna said Modi was scheduled to hold a virtual meeting with all chief ministers at 12.30pm.
But the Bengal chief minister has already gone out of the city to hold several rallies in the Jungle Mahal. On Tuesday, the chief minister is scheduled to spend the night at Kharagpur and set to attend two rallies in Jhargram.
Trinamul sources said after holding the rally in Gopiballavpur, Mamata was scheduled to come back to Calcutta in the afternoon and release the Trinamul Congress’s manifesto for the Assembly polls in the evening.
“She has a tight schedule on Wednesday and it is unlikely that she would be able to attend the video conference. It is not possible for her to cancel rallies at the last minute as few days have already been lost,” said a Trinamul insider.
In the past, the chief minister had attended such meetings from districts but this time, no such initiative has been taken so far.
“The chief minister had attended a video conference with the PM from Bankura. A number of PWD engineers had rushed to Bankura a day ahead of the meeting to make the arrangements for the meeting. But no one from Nabanna has been sent to Kharagpur this time,” said a source.
Sources aware of the development said Wednesday’s meeting was considered to be important for states like Maharastra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh where Covid-19 cases had increased in the past couple of weeks.
“A total of eight states, including Maharastra, Karnataka, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, are causing trouble these days. These eight states recorded more than 80 per cent of the 24,000-odd cases over the past few days. Bengal is in a comparatively better situation with about 240 cases a day,” said an official.
After such meetings, the Centre usually sends detailed guidelines to the states to deal with the existing situation.
“If the chief minister cannot attend the meeting, the state can make up by following the guidelines to be issued after the meeting. As the state government has worked hard to bring the Covid-19 situation under control, it can continue with its effort that has produced results,” said a health department official.