Mamata will accompany Manmohan to Dhaka

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be accompanied by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee during his visit to Bangladesh on Sept 6 and 7.

Banerjee has accepted an invitation from Singh to join him on his much-waited visit to Bangladesh.

The chief minister of the Indian state of West Bengal on Thursday told reporters in Kolkata that she had received the invitation from Prime Minister’s Office and she would accept it.

The chief minister’s Secretariat is likely to send a formal acceptance letter to the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday.

Banerjee’s All India Trinamool Congress is an ally of the Indian National Congress, which leads the United Progressive Alliance Government in New Delhi.

She led a coalition of the All India Trinamool Congress and the Indian National Congress to power in West Bengal, defeating the Left Front in the State Assembly elections held in April and May this year. The Left Front led by Communist Party of India (Marxist) ruled West Bengal for 34 years.

Banerjee has a personal rapport with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who had called her to congratulate on her landslide victory in the State Assembly elections on May 13.

When Hasina came to New Delhi in January 2010, Banerjee – then Railway minister of the Union Government of India – gifted her a ‘Saree’.

Hasina’s Economic Advisor Mashiur Rahman and International Affairs Advisor Gowher Rizvi recently met Banerjee in Kolkata and extended to her an invitation from Hasina to visit Bangladesh.

During Singh’s visit to Dhaka, India and Bangladesh are expected to ink an interim agreement on sharing of water of Teesta. The river flows through Sikkim and northern part of West Bengal before entering Bangladesh.

As West Bengal is also largely dependent on Teesta for irrigation and hydropower generation, India’s Central Government has been factoring in the views of the State Government while negotiating the interim treaty with Bangladesh for sharing of the water of the river.

India and Bangladesh are also expected to try to resolve the vexed issues of enclaves, adversely controlled land and un-demarcated border during Singh’s visit.

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