Pranab calls Mamata on Hasina dinner

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International Desk : Indian president invites West Bengal chief minister to attend dinner for Bangladesh PM Hasina

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has telephoned West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to invite her to attend a dinner he will be hosting in honour of visiting Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on April 8.

This follows a formal invitation letter already sent to Mamata from the presidential office the Rastrapati Bhavan.

Bhavan sources told that the telephone call on Monday night followed the invitation letter send earlier in the day.

The sources did not disclose the content of the discussion, but it is believed the Indian president is pushing for Mamata’s presence at the dinner because he wants a face-to-face discussion between PM Hasina and Mamata in his presence.

Reliable sources say the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj will also be present during the discussion.

“Everyone in Delhi who matters is giving Mamata enough importance and wants her in the discussion, so that she has no cause for complaint later,” said a top Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) source.

Mamata’s official reaction to the invitation is not yet known but Trinamool sources in Delhi say she has no yet accepted the invitation but neither has she rejected it.

Earlier she had said the Indian government was trying to avoid her in the Teesta discussions and planning to sign a deal with Bangladesh on May 25.

“Those allegations were baseless. She will be duly consulted but she has to come to Delhi. Now that the president has gone out of the way to get her on board, how can she say we are ignoring her,” said the MEA source.

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