Hasina won't join Mamata's oath-taking
Dhaka has not yet made any decision about who will represent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's swearing-in ceremony on May 27.
Mamata invited Bangladesh's premier to attend her oath-taking programme, but Hasina would not be able to attend as she is scheduled to leave for Japan on May 26 on a five-day official tour to take part in the outreach meeting on the sidelines of the G7 Summit to be held in Ise-Shima on May 27.
“No decision is yet made about who will represent the prime minister since the invitation is given directly to her. We are expecting a decision from the Prime Minister's Office very soon," State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam told The Daily Star yesterday.
Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif echoed Alam.
Meanwhile, talking to The Daily Star yesterday, several highly placed sources in Dhaka said a senior minister of Hasina's cabinet might represent her.
Our correspondents in New Delhi and Kolkata report that Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali is expected to take part in the swearing-in of Mamata in Kolkata.
"The high commissioner has booked a flight to Kolkata on the morning of May 27 to participate in the swearing-in," the spokesman for the high commission told The Daily Star's New Delhi correspondent.
Diplomatic sources said among the international participants, Bhutan's PM Tshering Tobgay confirmed that he would join the oath-taking programme.
Among others on the guest list are Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, ministers and leaders of different political parties, according to Indian media reports.
Hasina telephoned Mamata and greeted her on her election to the chief minister of West Bengal in May 2011, but this time Hasina did not call her or send any letter of felicitations on her second election victory.
However, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali has conveyed the heartiest congratulations to the ruling Trinamool Congress on the consecutive second victory in the recently held West Bengal Bidhan Sabha elections.
“This is an apt recognition of your pro-poor and pro-development policies, and your dedication to the betterment of the people of West Bengal,” he said in a message to the West Bengal chief minister on May 19.
As the relationship expands in depth and dimension, the foreign minister said, “We're confident that during your upcoming term, we would be able to further strengthen our relations.”
Bangladesh Deputy High Commissioner in Kolkata Zokey Ahad also greeted Mamata through an SMS in her mobile and Mamata also replied, said diplomatic sources.
In 2011, Hasina sent flower bouquets in advance and sent two of her advisers and foreign minister to Mamata.