Mamata agrees with Delhi on Indo-Bangla enclave swap

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) government of West Bengal has decided to withdraw its objection to the long-pending land-swap deal between India and Bangladesh.

Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra informed the Indian Union Home Ministry last week that the state government wants to settle the enclave issue which is being dragged for over six decades now, reports Kolkata-based daily Anandabazaar Patrika on Wednesday.

MamataHowever, the state government wants the Indian central government to take up the issue of developing the land area that will be added to West Bengal, in terms of administration and infrastructure, the report said.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee might announce the new stand of her government at a rally in Cooch Behar on Thursday. The venue of the chief minister’s rally is very close to the Bangladeshi enclave, which suggests that the reports about her making a big announcement tomorrow could be true. Banerjee might hasten the procedure of rehabilitating the enclave dwellers on Wednesday, according to the report.

Mamata had hinted at her party’s changing role on the enclave issue before the Lok Sabha election in March. When the draft of the land boundary agreement was made during a parliamentary panel meeting last week, the representatives of the TMC agreed to it.

The new stand of the TMC is a marked departure from what it had spoken earlier on the issue. Mamata Banerjee had stalled talks between India and Bangladesh over the sharing of the Teesta River water and also pulled out of the Bangladesh-bound entourage of former prime minister Manmohan Singh, causing immense embarrassment to New Delhi.

The protocol that was signed between New Delhi and Dhaka in 2011 could not be ratified in Parliament. In September 2013, when the then UPA government tried to table the Bill in Rajya Sabha, it was torn off by the protesting TMC MPs.

It was said that the enclave swap would put Mamata’s key vote-bank of minorities under threat.