Mamata Banerjee denies appointment with Nancy Powell

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West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday avoided a meeting with US ambassador Nancy Powell, who came all the way from Delhi to meet the former.

Although Banerjee on Friday flatly denied having any appointment with the US ambassador, the official website of Trinamul Congress, Banerjee’s own party, had earlier reported that Powell had sought an appointment with the Trinamul Congress supremo, which was scheduled to take place in Kolkata on Friday. Senior state government officials also reportedly confirmed the proposed meeting.

There was utter confusion over Powell’s meeting with the West Bengal chief minister.

Banerjee categorically told newspersons, “In my appointment card, there is nothing of the sort (meeting with Powell). I do not have any appointment with her (Powell). It’s a problem that you make such news.”

When asked if there was a scheduled meeting, the US consulate in Kolkata said, “We have no comments to offer on this.”

Powell instead met West Bengal governor M K Narayanan for over 45 minutes.

Powell had earlier met Banerjee in September, 2012 and discussed possible US investments, among other things. In May last year, the then US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, too, had a meeting with Banerjee.

Friday’s proposed meeting was billed as part of a “concentrated outreach programme by the US to senior political and business leaders, which began in November to highlight the US-India relationship.”

On February 13, Powell had met BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at the latter’s residence in Gandhinagar, ending a decade-long US boycott of the Gujarat chief minister over the 2002 riots.

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