Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress on Friday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had mounted pressure on the Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago to cancel the programme where West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was invited. The TMC also alleged that the party wanted only one programme to be held in which would be attended by Mohan Bhagwat.

“Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago, on 125yrs of address by Swami Vivekananda, invited Mamata Banerjee to attend a programme in Chicago. She confirmed her participation. Subsequently, under ‘tremendous pressure’ the organizers were prevailed upon to cancel the programme,” All India Trinamool Congress said.

Blaming BJP-RSS for pressurising the organisers to cancel the programme, the party said, “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.”

“To ensure this happened, intense pressure was mounted on Vivekananda Vedanta Society in Chicago to cancel the programme for which Mamata Banerjee had confirmed. Subsequently, the programme was cancelled,” the party added.

Attacking Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre, Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday described the cancellation of her trip to Chicago as an “unholy conspiracy” and said that the incident gave her “a lot of pain”. “I wanted to go to Chicago…. I could not go there because of an unholy conspiracy hatched by certain people. This incident has given me a lot of pain,” she said.

In an apparent attack at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Banerjee said, “Everybody can’t be a leader. A good leader must learn how to sacrifice. A leader must be dedicated to his or her own country and for the cause of people. Tolerance is essential and Hinduism has taught us this…It’s a matter of shame when somebody dictates on what to eat, where to stay and what to do.”

Dismissing the reports, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that the government did not receive any clearance request for her visit to Chicago. “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,” spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.