The West Bengal chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, on Friday told a room full of investors that regional parties would gain immense significance in the coming days, and they would rule the country as well.
She asserted it at a close door interaction with the industrialists at a programme organized by at a programme of Young Presidents' Organization (YPO) in Kolkata on Monday.
"She told them that we are ruling Bengal today and tomorrow we will rule India and regional parties will become extremely important in the coming days," said Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member from West Bengal, Derek O'Brien, quoting Mamata Banerjee.
However, he refused to clarify whether Mamata meant only Trinamool Congress or regional parties by the word "we". "I have quoted just what she said," O'Brien said.
Although the Bihar chief minister, Nitish Kumar was present on the same occasion, but he arrived at the venue an hour after Mamata Banerjee left. "I was scheduled to meet Mamata Banerjee today. But I could not since my flight arrived late at Kolkata," Kumar said.
However, when quizzed the Bihar chief minister refused to echo what Mamata said about regional parties. "We have asked the union government for special status for Bihar. Some other states, too, have demanded the same because they too have their own difficulties. There are several regional and state specific issues. Their demands are equally valid," he said.
Since Mamata Banerjee assumed power in West Bengal in May 2011, she has been demanding a special economic package for West Bengal, which included a three-year moratorium on payment of interest on loans.
Later after the interaction with industrialists at the YPO programme, Nitish Kumar clearly said that the UPA-II government would continue its full term. "This government knows how to manage others and they will somehow pull along," he said.
However, he refused to give a direct answer on whether the results of the forthcoming Gujarat elections would have an impact on the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. "Elections go on happening," he said.
Incidentally, Mamata is scheduled to meet industrialists at a Ficci meeting on December 15 in New Delhi. On December 17 she is supposed to meet a group of 30 investors in the capital.
"It is expected that she would make an all-out attempt to woo investors by clarifying their doubts on the land policy," a Trinamool insider said.