- Trinamool alleged "pressure was mounted" to cancel the event in Chicago
- Mamata Banerjee was not stopped by government, foreign ministry said
- Foreign ministry said it did not receive any request for the visit
Mamata Banerjee was not stopped by the government from visiting Chicago for the World Hindu Conference, the foreign ministry has said, asserting that it never received a request for approval.
Describing the ministry's version as "low-on-facts", Ms Banerjee's Trinamool Congress alleged today that "pressure was mounted" on the organisers to cancel an event to which the Chief Minister was invited.
"I wanted to go to Chicago.... I could not go there because of an unholy conspiracy hatched by certain people. This incident has given me a lot of pain," Ms Banerjee had said on Tuesday.
Her party alleged today that the ruling BJP and its ideological mentor RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) wanted only one major programme to be held in Chicago during the conference.
Trinamool leader Derek O'Brien said in a statement that the Vivekananda Vedanta Society had invited Mamata Banerjee and she had confirmed her participation. "Subsequently, it is learnt, that under 'tremendous pressure', the organisers were prevailed upon to cancel the programme. It is common knowledge that the BJP-RSS wanted only one major programme to be held in Chicago and that would be under the banner of the Global Hindu Congress (World Hindu Foundation) and this programme would be attended by Mohan Bhagwat...To ensure this happened, intense pressure was mounted on Vivekananda Vedanta Mission in Chicago to cancel the programme," he said.
Last night, External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the government did not receive any request for clearance for Mamata Banerjee's visit.
"The reports about the denial of permission are, therefore, not true," he said in response to questions.
(With inputs from agencies)
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