Mamata invites Hasina

Takes oath 2nd time as West Bengal CM

Just after taking oath as the chief minister of West Bengal for the second time yesterday, Mamata Banerjee invited Bangladesh's prime minister to pay a visit to Kolkata.

Mamata was sworn in at Kolkata's Red Road amid boycott of the ceremony by the Congress and the Left.

After taking her seat as the chief minister, Mamata paid a visit to Bangladesh's Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu, who was present at the oath-taking ceremony, and invited Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, reports our correspondent in Kolkata.

She thanked the people of Bangladesh and conveyed her best wishes to the Bangladesh prime minister during the five-minute talks with Amu, Mofakkharul Islam, press secretary of Bangladesh's Deputy High Commission in Kolkata, told our correspondent over phone.

During the meeting with Amu, Mamata said she would accord a reception to Sheikh Hasina at the latter's favourable time.

According to NDTV, Mamata was sworn in at the biggest oath-taking ceremony Bengal has ever seen. Forty-one ministers also took oath after her in batches of four and some touched her feet to seek her blessings.

Cheering from the front row seats were political heavyweights like Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

Massive cut-outs, more the style of Tamil Nadu's J Jayalalithaa than of Mamata Banerjee, lined Kolkata's Red Road. An entire stretch of the arterial road -- which links important places in Kolkata like the state secretariat and the High Court -- was cordoned off for the Trinamool Congress' celebration of a massive victory in the state elections last week.

"It is like the coronation of the Queen of Bengal. This cannot be the coronation of the chief minister. The kind of money that is being spent… I think the Queen of England would be put to shame," said Chandra Bose of the state BJP, which also boycotted the oath ceremony.

They were not missed as workers of Mamata's Trinamool Congress thronged the venue chanting slogans and smearing the party green on their faces.

 Also present were Bihar's Lalu Yadav and Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the BJP's minister from Bengal Babul Supriyo represented the Centre.

Mamata yesterday morning tweeted about a "new beginning" for the people of Bengal and thanked all ministers and chief ministers for attending the ceremony.

The presence of leaders like Nitish Kumar, Arvind Kejriwal and Akhilesh Yadav is being seen as a new beginning of a third front of regional powerhouses to challenge the BJP and the Congress in the 2019 national polls.

Over 20,000 people attended Mamata's swearing-in, the biggest oath ceremony Bengal has ever seen

After her win last week, Mamata hinted at future political realignments at the national level when she talked about "friends I can work with," listing among them the leaders attending her oath ceremony, others like J Jayalalithaa and Mayawati, and also BJP allies like Chandrababu Naidu.

"No third front, second front. If at all this is a first front," said Derek O'Brien of her party.


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