KOLKATA, July 9 : West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has thanked Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for sending mangoes to her.
Sheikh Hasina had dispatched 2,600 kg of mangoes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mamata Banerjee on Sunday, July 4.
In her letter to Sheikh Hasina, Banerjee said, “I like the mangoes you had sent. I had heard about Rangpur district’s Haribhanga mangoes, but I never had the opportunity to taste one. I have distributed the mangoes to everybody. The mangoes brought with them your love and the essence of Bangladesh.”
Sheikh Hasina and the West Bengal Chief Minister have always shared good relations, but the distribution of Teesta waters has been a point of contention between the two neighbours.
The central government is ready to share Teesta waters with Bangladesh, but Mamata Banerjee is not prepared to part with the share that Bangladesh has been demanding, fearing it might have a negative effect on agriculture in North Bengal.
Hasina’s goodwill gesture might have been an effort to reach out to the West Bengal Chief Minister and perhaps get her to soften her stand.
The consignment of Haribhanga mangoes was transported across the land border via the Benapole checkpoint. Anupam Chakma, deputy commissioner of the Benapole customs house, told Bangladeshi media that the mangoes were a symbol of the goodwill between the two countries.
On Sunday afternoon, Bangladeshi trucks carrying 260 boxes of mangoes crossed the border after clearing customs and port requirements.
Several prominent Bangladeshi officials, including Ashraful Alam Liton, mayor of Benapole municipality, were present when the trucks crossed to the other side.
Sources in the Bangladesh High Commission in Kolkata said that Sheikh Hasina planned to send mangoes to the chief ministers of the northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura, which share borders with Bangladesh.
Mango diplomacy is an integral part of sub-continental politics. There’s been a history of it between India and Pakistan. Zia-ul Haq and Pervez Musharraf, as well as former interior minister Rehman Malik, were among those Pakistani dignitaries who had gifted mangoes to their Indian counterparts in the past.