A much awaited ‘meeting’ between Union finance minister Arun Jaitley and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal at the West Bengal government’s flagship Bengal Global Business Summit was a dry affair on Friday, failing to produce anything more than a formal namaskar.
The two leaders, who have grabbed the headlines for sparring over alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association, met twice, once on Thursday evening and again on Friday morning.
But they were not seen shaking hands, not to speak of exchanging pleasantries. Incidentally, this is the first time they met after Jaitley dragged Kejriwal to court on civil and criminal charges of defamation for linking the senior BJP leader to allegations of financial bungling within the DDCA.
On Friday afternoon, when Jaitley returned to his seat after delivering his speech at the summit, Kejriwal stood up and brought his palms together in a gesture of namaskar.
Jaitley also did the same, but his gesture seemed to be targeted at the host Mamata Banerjee who also stood up and reciprocated with a namaskar.
The senior minister left about 15 minutes before Kejriwal rose to speak.
They were also seated quite far from one another with Bhutan’s king and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee occupying the two chairs between Kejriwal and Jaitley.
The two had come face to face on Thursday evening at the Eco Park, the venue of a dinner hosted for the guests. While Kejriwal entered the venue at 7 pm, the finance minister arrived at 9 pm. According to eyewitnesses, the two leaders did not shake hands but greeted one another with a functional namaskar.
The Bengal Global Business Summit is designed to attract the investor community to the cash-strapped state.