West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Benerjee on Friday offered an emotional condolence to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his mother Heeraben Modi's death. Heeraben passed away at a hospital in Ahmedabad on Friday. She was 100. It is noteworthy to mention, that PM Modi on Friday virtually flagged off the Vande Bharat express connecting Howrah and New Jalpaiguri, just an hour after laying his mother to rest.
Just before the inauguration, Mamata Banerjee said, "Respected PM, today it's a sad day and great loss to you. I pray to god, may god give you strength. I convey my gratitude to you that you were supposed to come to West Bengal but because of demise of your mother you couldn't come but joined virtually. On behalf of the people of West Bengal, I thank you so much for giving us this opportunity. It's a sad day for you. Your mother means our mother also.... Today I remember my mother also. May god give you the strength to continue your work, please take some rest."
However, high drama prevailed at Howrah Station as a visibly annoyed Mamata Banerjee refused to get up on the dais from where the Vande Bharat express to New Jalpaiguri will be flagged off. Banerjee seemed upset by the loud sloganeering from a section of the invited crowd at the railway station.
Attempts by Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Governor C V Ananda Bose to pacify her did not bear fruit, as the chief minister chose to seat on a chair along with the audience.
The Vande Bharat Express connecting Howrah and New Jalpaiguri, the gateway to the northeast, as well as several development projects, will be virtually inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.