Kolkata: Yet another bombshell has been dropped on the Congress-led Centre by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, this time over excess drainage of water from the Farakka barrage to Bangladesh. In a strongly-worded letter to the Prime Minister, Banerjee called the Centre's delay in repairing two sluice gates of the barrage a criminal conspiracy.
Her letter states, "This looks like a man-made disaster planned to plunge West Bengal into a crisis, and to provide 'water' bonanza to Bangladesh."
Mamata has argued that Bangladesh receives more water because of the government's failure to repair the sluice gates of the Farraka barrage. She says that the southern districts of West Bengal are in a crisis as the river water is going to Bangladesh.
The outburst came even as Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai met the Trinamool leader, presumably to convince her about the Teesta Water Sharing Treaty with Bangladesh.
Mathai said, "I requested a courtesy call from the CM... The CM was kind enough to receive me..."
While Mamata does seem courteous enough to meet a senior bureaucrat, she was angry enough to snub the Union Home Minister himself. After her rejoinder over the NCTC, Mamata skipped the inauguration of a regional NSG hub in Kolkata. An unhappy Home Minister stressed the need for the Centre and the states to work together on terror.
Combating terror is a shared responsibility of the state and the Centre, he said.
So far a conciliatory Congress has continued to downplay differences.
With her frequent disagreements, the mercurial Mamata seems to have virtually become a thorn in the Manmohan Singh government's side. For the moment, the Congress is continuing to downplay the rift. The government has bent over backwards to accommodate her often, be it on the FDI or water-sharing. But with differences cropping almost on a daily basis, it is just time before either the Congress digs its heels in, or Mamata decides to part ways.