Mamata keeps date with industrialists

November 2nd, 2010 - 10:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, Nov 2 (IANS) In a bid to reach out to industrial barons and cultural personalities ahead of West Bengal assembly polls next year, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee utilised the traditional ‘Bijoya Sammilani’ or post-Durga Puja parties to play perfect hostess to both these sections.

On Tuesday, artists, writers, filmmakers, singers and painters were ‘didi’s’ guests at a get-together.

On Monday, the railway minister hosted the who’s who of Bengal Inc in a bid to shed the anti-industry image that her political opponents slapped on her after the Trinamool’s anti-land acquisition agitations at Singur and Nandigram.

The function saw Banerjee mingle with top corporates at a posh South Kolkata address. The invitation was officially sent by her close aide and leader of opposition in the state assembly Partha Chattopadhyay.

The guest list included Sanjeev Goenka of RPG group, Harsh Neotia of Ambuja Realty, S.K. Roy of Peerless, Karan Paul of Apeejay Group, J.P. Chowdhury of Titagarh Wagons, Pawan Ruia of Dunlop, Prasun Mukherjee and many others.

On record, Trinamool Congress leaders are describing the two functions as social gatherings and claim these have nothing to do with politics.

“It was a social gathering. It is nothing new. Today (Tuesday) also we are having a social gathering with the intellectuals of the state. Don’t try to find any politics in it,” Somen Mitra, a senior Trinamool Congress leader, told IANS.

However, political analysts describe Banerjee’s date with the industrialists as her attempt at an image make-over. On the other hand, the state’s ruling Marxists say it only exposed the contradiction in the Trinamool and its leader.

“The party hosted by Trinamool Congress was actually an attempt by Trinamool Congress and its chief Mamata Banerjee to remove the anti-industry image which has stuck to them since the Singur disturbances,” Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury, a political analyst, told IANS.

Banerjee’s intense anti-land acquisition movement forced Tata Motors to move out its small car plant from West Bengal’s Singur area to Gujrat. The business community had then condemned Banerjee’s act as anti-industry.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) central committee member Md. Salim went hammer and tongs at the Trinamool.

“It is a poor effort for an image make-over. This party actually brings out the contradiction of the Trinamool. On the one hand, Trinamool is opposing the Land Acquisition bill in the name of ‘Maa, Mati, Manush’ (Mother, Land and People) and on the other hand it is hosting parties for corporate houses,” Salim told IANS.

After the Singur episode, the CPI-M led ruling Left Front led an extensive campaign to dub Banerjee and her party as anti-development.

Basu Ray Chaudhury also feels that the two get-togethers provided an opportunity to sense the pulse of the industrialists and the cultural personalities before the crucial assembly polls. It was an attempt to see who are by the side of Trinamool and who are not.

“The support of the industrialists and intellectuals is very important for Trinamool before the polls,” he added.

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