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Mamata plays tolerance and harmony cards at biz summit to woo investors

Mamata Banerjee did not name any party during her speech but it was apparent that she was trying to gain political mileage as she has blamed the BJP alone for every communal unrest in recent times.

kolkata Updated: Jan 17, 2018 17:02 IST
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times
BGBS,Mamata Banerjee,Trinamool Congress
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has held the Bengal Global Business Summit for the fourth time to attract investors. (Samir Jana/HT PHOTO)

Years after the Marxists tried to convince investors that militant trade unionism was a thing of the past in Bengal, chief minister Mamata Banerjee projected “tolerance” and “harmony” at the Trinamool government’s fourth business summit held over two days in a bid to attract capital.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the Bengal Global Business Summit 2018 on Tuesday, Banerjee offered guaranteed “tolerance” and “security” in return for investment.

Though she did not name any political party, it was apparent that the chief minister was trying to gain political mileage as she has blamed the BJP alone for every communal unrest in recent times.

Read: CM Mamata woos investors at Bengal business summit

“We believe in unity and tolerance. So, I invite all my industrialist friends to invest here without any fear. At the same time, I would like to assure that I will not compromise on the issue of their security. I won’t spare even my own party activists on this count,” said Banerjee on the first day of the summit.

On Wednesday, the second and last day of the event, the chief minister said, “Bengal believes in tolerance and it does not make discrimination on the basis of caste, creed and religion.”

“When you come to Bengal please don’t think you are going somewhere else. Think that you are coming to your own home. Don’t think I am pleading only for West Bengal. I also want industry to come to Bihar and Odisha,” she said.

She claimed that over two days investors evinced interest to put in about Rs 2.19 lakh crore in different projects in Bengal.

Read: Tatas start shifting out equipment

While addressing investors on previous occasions, Banerjee had always alleged that there had been deliberate attempt by interests groups to malign Bengal’s image and project it as unfriendly. She completely dumped this approach at the two-day summit. “The parameters in Bengal are ideal for investment. We have political stability. As far as lost man-day is concerned, the dark days are over. We have surplus power and skilled labour,” she said on Tuesday.

“Bengal has an excellent team of bureaucrats who are always ready to cooperate with industrialists so that they may run their business smoothly. In terms of ease of doing business, Bengal is the best state,” she added.

The chief minister admitted that without fresh investments Bengal cannot go ahead. “Just as the state cannot move ahead without proper agricultural development, it cannot develop its economy without industrial progress. We need to ensure that industrialists run their business in peace,” she said on Tuesday.

She also raised the issue of caste politics at the inaugural session. “We have people of various castes, religions and beliefs in India. Unity in diversity is our pride. People of Bengal have always practiced this unity and that is our strength,” she said.

First Published: Jan 17, 2018 17:02 IST