Mamata’s Claim that ‘Unholy Conspiracy’ Thwarted US Visit Leads to MEA Scramble

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New Delhi: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s claims that she was thwarted from attending a previously scheduled event to mark Swami Vivekananda’s historic speech in Chicago led the foreign ministry to do something it rarely does: revise an already issued statement to clarify the government’s stand.On Wednesday night, the MEA first issued a statement denying reports in a “section of the media” that the Central government had denied permission to the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to attend the “second World Hindu Conference”.“We did not receive any request for clearance regarding the visit of Ms Mamata Banerjee to Chicago for the event. The reports about the denial of permission are, therefore, not true,” said the MEA spokesperson.However, media reports did not mention that Banerjee claimed to have been invited to the 2nd World Hindu Congress, for which Vice-president Venkaiah Naidu even made a special visit to the US.The Economic Times reported that Banerjee claimed there was an “unholy conspiracy” to stop her from visiting Chicago to mark 125 years of Swami Vivekananda’s address to the parliament of religions. The West Bengal chief minister was speaking at an event to commemorate the anniversary of the speech at Belur Math on September 11.According to the report, she said she had received an invitation from the Ramakrishna Mission, but that the organisation was forced to cancel the event.
The Telegraph reported that Banerjee was invited by the Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago, which described itself as a branch of Ramakrishna order.
“I wanted to go to Chicago [for the August 26 event]. There was an invitation. But fortunately or unfortunately, I couldn’t go to the hall where Swamiji delivered his address [at the World’s Parliament of Religions on September 11, 1893]. Behind this was an unholy conspiracy. Some people wanted to ensure that I couldn’t go,” she said.
The Trinamool leader claimed that under pressure, the Vivekananda Vedanta Society called off the event through a letter received by Banerjee on June 11.Following the MEA’s statement, the Trinamool Congress issued a press release on the ministry’s “low-on-facts argument”.The party’s chief national spokesperson, Derek O’Brien claimed that “intense pressure was mounted on the Vivekananda Vedanta Society in Chicago to cancel the programme for which Mamata Banerjee had confirmed”. He added that the programme was subsequently cancelled.
“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,