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Opposition parties seek expenses data on Mamata Banerjee’s 12-day trip to Spain, UAE

The BJP, from one end of the political spectrum, and Mamata’s INDIA allies the Congress and the CPM, from another, demanded answers from her on the dent to the cash-strapped state exchequer from the trip

Meghdeep Bhattacharyya Calcutta Published 25.09.23, 09:14 AM
Mamata Banerjee.

Mamata Banerjee. File picture

The Opposition parties in Bengal banded together against the ruling Trinamul over the yield for the state from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s 12-day trip to Spain and the UAE.

Governor C.V. Ananda Bose, set to leave for the US next week, however, purportedly sent Mamata a letter asking how her trip went and wishing her well.

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The BJP, from one end of the political spectrum, and Mamata’s INDIA allies the Congress and the CPM, from another, demanded answers from her on the dent to the cash-strapped state exchequer from the trip.

The BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, the leader of the Opposition in Bengal, issued a statement critical of her trip to woo investors to visit the Bengal Global Business Summit here in November.

Adhikari made a post on X on Saturday night, addressing those who have tried to draw a parallel between Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign trips and Mamata’s “foreign vacation”.

He posted: “Let me tell you the difference: While Hon’ble PM’s strategic trips first laid the foundation for our country to be recognized as one with growing prominence”. Now, the country is being “regarded as ‘Vishwa Mitra’ who can proudly host a successful G20.”

“On the other hand, judging by the current regime’s & ruling Tolamool party’s hobnob with corruption in WB, the only thing which might be achieved after CM’s trip/vacation is a successful gathering of G420,” he posted.

It resulted in a duel on X with Trinamul state general-secretary Kunal Ghosh, who doubled down by jeering at Modi’s foreign visits and accusing BJP leader Adhikari of being feeling left out.

On Sunday, Adhikari again added: “While the dengue situation escalated to epidemic proportions in Bengal, the chief minister left for holidaying abroad, with her entourage. She has returned after a predictably fruitless visit.”

Mamata returned on Saturday evening and posted on X a statement underscoring “serious offers” received during her trip abroad.

“Back to Kolkata with serious offers for investments and partnerships from Spain and Dubai. Follow-up overseas delegations will come shortly and during BGBS in November for carrying forward what we started,” the chief minister wrote.

“I thank the Indian Embassies, CII, FICCI, ICC, accompanying industry-business delegates and the media fraternity for working hard towards a common mission. Jai Biswa Bangla! Jai Hind!” she added.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Behrampore Congress MP and a part of the national anti-BJP INDIA bloc, also demanded details of the total expenditure incurred on the Trinamul supremo and chief minister’s trip on taxpayers’ money.

“This was not an industry or investment-scouting tour. It was for your personal enjoyment, merriment, luxury, and revelry abroad. For which the people of Bengal had to pay. We demand to know exactly how much was spent,” Chowdhury said. “People want details of concrete, tangible investment commitments and industry proposals from Spain and the UAE, not statements issued there by people taken from here."

CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty alleged the sum “wasted” on the trip by Mamata was Rs 20 crore. “It was a personal trip in the garb of an official visit,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Governor Bose purportedly sent a letter to Mamata of “cordial enquiry” about her tour.

On September 11, before leaving, Mamata said Bose sent her a sealed “personal” letter to wish her “well” ahead of her trip.

“Not even the CPM and the Congress are demanding answers to the governor leaving on Tuesday for a multi-city, luxury tour of the US, with no serious, official business on the agenda,” said a Trinamul MP.

Bose is supposed to return from the US on October 7, after meeting NRI platforms and attending a literary meet.

Ties between Nabanna and Raj Bhavan have been frosty in recent months.

Mamata check-up

Mamata Banerjee went on Sunday evening to the SSKM Hospital for a check-up. An MRI was conducted on her. Hospital authorities said she suffered an injury to her already-injured left knee last week during her trip.

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