Kolkata: The Oxford Union debating society on Wednesday postponed the virtual address of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee citing unanticipated problems.
The Home Department said the “request [for postponement] has been made telephonically from the organisers’ end, citing some unforeseen problems, a brief while ago”.
“While Hon’ble Chief Minister was scheduled to address the Oxford Union debating society today afternoon, the organisers have suddenly sought postponement and re-scheduling at the last moment!,” it tweeted.
Later, the State government made public a communication from Beatrice Barr, president of the Oxford Union, to Goutam Sanyal, Principal Secretary to the chief minister.
“I sincerely hope that the Hon’ble Chief Minister will understand and might honour us with her esteemed presence at the earliest possible convenience to you. With your permission, I will pass your details onto my successor, to whom I hand over this Friday,” Ms. Barr wrote.
The Bengal CM’s address was eagerly awaited by her party and supporters. Several in the party had also said that she was the “first Indian woman leader & an administrative head to address the forum”. A section raised questions about the cancellation at the eleventh hour.
“The programme was fixed more than four months ago by Oxford Union. They called her office this morning to change time from 5 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. That too was agreed. Then they sent the email cancelling the programme just 30 minutes before the scheduled start time,” a senior TMC leader said.
Sources had said that the Banerjee was supposed to speak on state government schemes like ‘Kanyashree‘, ‘Rupasree‘, ‘Krishak Bandhu‘ and ‘Duare Bangla‘.