Kolkata ,March 24 (ABP Ananda/BDNews24): The Modi government is preparing to sign the Teesta river water sharing agreement with Bangladesh, but “I am not in the loop”, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has said.
She told the ‘ABP Ananda’ late on Thursday night that the Teesta treaty may be signed on May 25 in presence of five chief ministers of Indian states bordering Bangladesh.
“But I can only say I have not been consulted so far. I don’t have any clue about the discussions. I cannot put a seal of approval on the treaty at the cost of my state’s interest,” Mamata said during the interview.
She said she was upset with the Centre side-stepping her government on matters of Bengal.
“The Centre is directly interacting with district magistrates, keeping the state in the dark. Is this what the state deserves? I went to Delhi and to Dhaka on few occasions and my government gave full support on GST (the new sales tax regime). But why is the Centre bypassing the state government?” Mamata said.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is visiting Delhi between Apr 7-10 and many agreements between the two countries are likely to be signed at that time.
But Teesta river water sharing agreement may not be one of them as it is still uncertain, officials in Delhi and Dhaka have hinted.
There have also been reports that the Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, who is hosting Sheikh Hasina during her stay in Delhi, may host chief ministers of five Indian states bordering Bangladesh to resolve outstanding bilateral issues, including Teesta.
Some reports have also suggested that if these efforts do not work, Delhi may go ahead with the Teesta treaty on its own because Modi and his advisors see it as important to ‘fulfil India’s sovereign commitment to a friendly neighbour like Bangladesh’.
Mamata’s claims could not be verified in Delhi, but if they were true, it should give heft to those reports which suggest that Modi would go ahead with the long-hanging Teesta treaty, even if Mamata continues to oppose it.
The Congress and the Left parties will have to back Modi on the issue because it was a Congress government which initiated the process with Left support.
But the tenor of Mamata’s interview suggests she is under considerable pressure from Delhi to fall in line on the Teesta issue.
If her claims were true, it would mean the Teesta accord would not be signed during Sheikh Hasina’s Delhi visit, but there might be a clear declaration on signing the agreement in near future.
During the interview, Mamata appeared combative against the BJP, threatening to target the saffron groups who, she alleged, were trying to disturb West Bengal’s communal amity.
“If they target Bengal, we will target the whole of India,” she threatened during the interview.
Meanwhile Obaidul Quader, General Secretary of Sheikh Hasina’s party, Awami League, said that the Prime Minister will sign the Teesta river deal with India,as she had signed the Ganga Waters Treaty before.