Oxford Union seeks to postpone Mamata’s programme, TMC sniffs ‘political stress’

Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service
Kolkata, December 2

An event featuring West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee organised by the high profile Oxford Union Society has been cancelled at the last moment due to unspecified reasons.

In an email to principal secretary to chief minister (PSCM) Gautam Sanyal, Oxford Union president Beatrice has apologised for the event not taking place as planned.

“It is incredibly unfortunate: all of us from many countries were looking forward to it. Our audience in Oxford 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”, stated the email sent to Sanyal by the Oxford Union (OU) president.

Banerjee was supposed to answer questions online in an Oxford Union programme that would have gone on air at 5 pm IST.

Listing the programme on the OU website, an announcement said Mamata Banerjee’s interview would be pre-recorded with questions submitted online. It asked those interested in asking questions to submit the questions by 6 pm on Dec 1.

The Oxford Union Society, known simply as the Oxford Union, is a debating society in the city of Oxford, England, whose membership is drawn primarily from the University of Oxford. Founded in 1823, it is one of Britain’s oldest university unions and said to be one of the world’s most prestigious private students’ societies. The Oxford Union exists independently from the Oxford University and is separate from the Oxford University Student Union.

Banerjee would have been the first Indian woman leader and head of a state government to have featured in an interview organised by OU. She would have joined an exclusive club – ranging from Winston Churchill to Bill Clinton and Albert Einstein to Michael Jackson to have spoken at an event organised by OU.

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