West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee today said that she “will try” to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony for his second term on May 30.
She said she would attend the ceremony in Delhi on Thursday as “it is a ceremonial programme”.
This comes in on a day when 2 MLAs and around 50-60 councillors from Trinamool Congress Party joined Bharatiya Janata Party.
Mamata’s response to the ceremony shocked many a people. It was she, who engaged in a bitter war of words with PM Modi during the election campaign for the Lok Sabha elections. However, she has maintained that attending the ceremonial event meant showing constitutional courtesy.
“We will attend the programme. There are certain ceremonial programmes where attending amounts to constitutional courtesy,” Mamata Banerjee said at the state secretariat before suggesting that the short notice might be the only impediment.
She told that she spoke to other Chief Ministers, who agreed that certain constitutional obligation that they should try to attend to.
For PM Modi’s second oath ceremony, several world leaders, chief ministers and opposition leaders have been invited. Among them is Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has accepted the invitation.
Banerjee had skipped PM Modi’s first oath ceremony back in 2014 citing “certain preoccupations” in the state. She had then deputed Mukul Roy, who was then her trusted lieutenant and finance minister Amit Mitra to represent Bengal.
Later, Mukul Roy joined the BJP in November 2017, shortly after his suspension from TMC.
Just hours before Mamata Banerjee RSVP-ed on the oath ceremony, Mukul Roy announced the exodus of over 50 municipal councillors and 2 TMC MLAs to the BJP and predicted more defections in the coming six months.
While BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijavargiya taunted, “Like the elections were held in seven phases in West Bengal, joinings in BJP will also happen in seven phases. Today was just the first phase.”
He also reminded her of Pm Modi’s words earlier when he said that “forty TMC MLAs are in touch” with him and will dump the party soon after the elections.
The BJP and the TMC had a vitriolic political campaign Banerjee on one occasion said, she wanted to give PM Modi a “tight slap of democracy”. At another point, she had said that she did not consider Narendra Modi the country’s Prime Minister.
PM Modi had responded to the barb, saying Banerjee had “crossed all limits and lost her mental balance”.
The NDA alliance’s phenominal win the parliamentary elections have raised the stakes to an extreme for TMC. From two seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, NDA grew its tally to 18 out of the state’s 42 seats. While Banerjee’s party dropped from 34 in 2014 to 22 in 2019.