West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said that the Centre has denied her permission to attend an event in Rome, ABP News reported. She added that she was invited by the Italian government.
“There was a meeting on global peace in Rome...The Italian government had given me special permission,” Banerjee said at an election rally. “But the Centre cancelled my trip. They told me that a chief minister cannot go on such a trip. They obstruct me from going anywhere.”
The permission was reportedly denied by the Union external affairs ministry.
“[The] event is not commensurate in status for participation by chief minister of a state,” the ministry said in response to the West Bengal government’s application seeking clearance for the trip, India Today reported.
The chief minister, who is campaigning for the bye-election in Bhabanipur constituency of West Bengal Assembly, said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Pope Francis were among those who were supposed to attend the event.
Banerjee was invited to the event organised by Macro Impagliazzo, the president of Community of Sant’Egidio, a Rome-based Catholic association, according to the Hindustan Times. The West Bengal chief minister was reportedly the only Indian to be invited.
Earlier on Saturday, Trinamool Congress spokesperson Debangshu Bhattacharya criticised the Centre for denying the permission.
“Previously they’ve cancelled the permission of China trip too,” he said in a tweet. “We accepted that decision with keeping international relations and India’s interests in mind. Now why Italy, [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi ji? What is your problem with Bengal? Chi!”