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Pressure from topmost level: TMC on Mamata’s Oxford Union address being cancelled


Kolkata, Dec 03: The scheduled address by West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee to the Oxford Union on Wednesday was cancelled at the minute after the debating society sought to postpone it citing unforeseen circumstances.

Banerjee would have been the first Indian woman Chief Minister to address the debating society, which has hosted leaders such as former British PM, Margaret Thatcher and former US president, Ronald Reagan.

Pressure from topmost level: TMC on Mamata’s Oxford Union address being cancelled

Banerjee was set to begin her online address at 2.30 pm on Wednesday and at around 1.50 pm, the organisers requested the programme to be rescheduled.

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"Today afternoon, the organisers suddenly sought postponement and rescheduling of the programme at the last moment! The request has been made telephonically from the organisers' end, citing some unforeseen problems, a brief while ago. The programme with Oxford Union today stands cancelled," the West Bengal Home Department said in as tweet.

The Oxford Union in an email offered its sincerest apologies. "Our audience sent a great many questions, and we were all working hard to pull a number of elements together.

However, nothing prevails over circumstances sometimes; it seems. 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," an email to the West Bengal government read.

Banerjee was expected to talk about the welfare schemes launched by her government and had been invited in July. It may be recalled that her earlier proposed visits to China, Chicago, St. Stephen's college in Delhi were cancelled at short notice.

The TMC in a statement said, "who is blocking these programmes? It is learnt that tremendous pressure was put from topmost levels on the organisers. India's most respected opposition leader. Elections coming soon! Got it?"

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