Mamata's absence is insult to Manmohan: Dhaka daily

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's absence from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's delegation, leading to the Teesta water accord not being signed, amounts to "an insult to the Indian Prime Minister", said a Bangladeshi newspaper Wednesday.

India and Bangladesh Tuesday signed several pacts but failed to ink the Teesta and Feni rivers water sharing accord.

"We have decided to continue discussions to reach a mutually acceptable, fair and amicable arrangement for the sharing of the Teesta and Feni river waters," Singh said Tuesday.

Banerjee, who was supposed to accompany Singh for the Sep 6-7 visit, refused to join the delegation to protest the final draft of the Teesta river water sharing agreement.

An editorial in the Daily Star said: "To say that Mamata Banerjee's absence has disappointed us is to greatly understate our feelings. The frustration runs far deeper. The hopes we had nurtured about her participation in Indo-Bangla talks have been dashed."

"Mamata Banerjee's action amounts to a big let-down for Bangladesh and an insult to the Indian Prime Minister," it said.

Referring to Banerjee's win in the West Bengal polls, it said the welcome with which her electoral victory was greeted in Bangladesh and the friendly feelings that she exuded to India's neighbour on her triumph, are "now more than equally matched by our disappointment at her impetuous behaviour".

Daily Star said: "We are taken aback by the turn of events and feel wronged."

The editorial went on to say that Trinamool Congress leaders' insistence that Banerjee was left out of the negotiations "does not cut much ice with policymakers in Bangladesh".

Stating that the timing of deciding not to come to Bangladesh was "irksome", the editorial said Banerjee's "last moment action has cast a dark shadow over the whole trip".

"It has had a dramatic negative impact on a trip that was so eagerly being looked forward to by both the government and the people of Bangladesh," the editorial added.

It wondered that if India's neighbour Bangladesh, "cannot depend on the negotiation it undertakes with New Delhi, and then sees it being scuttled by a state government, then what value will future negotiations have?"

"...Mamata's action...will leave, we are afraid, a serious negative impact on Bangladesh-India relations," it said.

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