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At Bengal Summit, President Had This Message For Arun Jaitley, Mamata Banerjee

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January 20, 2017

Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee had a star guest at her mega business summit that began in Kolkata on Friday. But he was not an investor. He was the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, who had a message for both the West Bengal chief minister and a missing guest, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. 

January 20, 2017

Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee had a star guest at her mega business summit that began in Kolkata on Friday. But he was not an investor. He was the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, who had a message for both the West Bengal chief minister and a missing guest, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. 

"When I was sent the invitation to attend the meet, I thought whether it will be proper to do that as President of the republic. But I felt that as India has cooperative federalism, it lays on the strength of every state. India's strength lies in cooperative federalism especially when it comes to economic development," he said.

Guests had no trouble reading between the lines, businessmen disappointed that Mr Jaitley had not come for the meet though his name was on the invitation card to the opening session of the meet. 

"As a businessman, I am disappointed Mr Jaitley did not come. Last year when he came to the summit, Mr Jaitley himself had said India would be stronger if we have economically stronger states," said Rajiv Kaul, chairman, Nicco group. 

Ambarish Dasgupta, former CII East chief, asked what he made of Mr Jaitley's 'disappearance,' said, "We are more concerned with those who appeared here… to invest in the state. Mr Jaitley must have had some pressing work."

Last year not only Mr Jaitley, three other top ministers of the BJP-led central government had come to the summit and showered projects on the state, including Suresh Prabhu, Piyush Goel and Nitin Gadkari. 

Last year, the summit had taken place just before the Assembly polls when the Trinamool Congress and the BJP were bitter rivals. The four-man contingent from the centre at the summit had embarrassed the state leadership. 

This time too, when Ms Banerjee invited Mr Jaitley to the summit, the state BJP, at loggerheads with the Trinamool over notes ban and the arrest of her leaders in chit fund scams, urged the central leaders not to send anyone. And they were heard.

If Ms Banerjee got the point, she was unfazed. "Demonetisation and remonetisation have caused a lot of hardship to business and industry," she said, adding, "come to Bengal. We are giving industry all relief." 

But even as her gritty message went out, Bhangar blew up briefly outside the venue of the business summit. 135 Left activists were arrested by the police after they suddenly appeared and tried to rush to the summit venue. 

The protesters could not enter there but blocked the EM Bypass and clashed with the police briefly. "Mamata Banerjee murdered rites. Industry in Singur. And now she is doing the shradh…or the last rites," said CPM MLA Sujan Chakraborty. 

"We want a judicial industry into the incident," said another leader Kanti Ganguly. 

The mob managed to block the EM Bypass for about 30 minutes. By then word of the incident had reached the chief minister, who was not pleased.

Bhangar was an emotive issue. Just three days before the mega meet, two people were killed during protests over alleged forcible land grab.


Courtesy: NDTV

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