Dhankar-Mamata 'subtle spat' at global summit will hurt WB's image: Economists

Kolkata, April 24 (IANS) The recent inauguration session of the Bengal Global Business Summit, 2022, on April 20 became a focal point of political debate following the central probe agency jibe by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from the dais.
 
Dhankar-Mamata 'subtle spat' at global summit will hurt WB's image: Economists

<br>After Governor Jagdeep Dhankar reminded the Chief Minister that "Centre-state development bonhomie" and "stable law and order situation" are prerequisites for attracting investors, the Chief Minister, from the dais requested the governor to take it up with the Union government so that "industrialists are not disturbed through any central agency".

This jibe by the Chief Minister from the summit dais has provoked political mud-slinging with the ruling Trinamool Congress on the one side and the opposition parties like the BJP, the Left Front and the Congress on the other side.

IANS talked to a number of experts in the field including economists, industry observers and financial analysts among others. The majority of them stated that such a jibe was undesirable from a business summit dais where several business delegates from the country and abroad were present and said that this development would prove to be a major image dampener for the state. However, a small section also felt that lack of restraint by the chief minister in her speeches is such a talked about subject that it will not add further to the damage already done.

Former chief economic advisor to the Union government, Ashok Kumar Lahiri, told IANS that what the chief minister has done was not right. "That was not the ideal platform for such a comment. This will take her nowhere in her attempts to attract investments to the state. Rather such comments will bring greater harm both for the state as well as for her," Lahiri said.

Professor of economics, Santanu Basu said that it has become a habit of the chief minister to raise political issues at any platform. According to him, the chief minister often forgets that the dais of a business summit is not an ideal platform to raise political issues. "Probably, the governor's reminder of strong Centre-state relations and law and order stability as pre- requisites for attracting investor confidence was the trigger- point for the chief minister to raise the central agency issue," Basu said.

Veteran financial columnist R.N. Sinha felt that lack of restraint by the chief minister in her speeches or comments is such a talked about subject that it will not add further to the damage already done for years.

"In my opinion she raised the issue of central agencies on a lighter note. But that gave a wrong signal since the central agencies have the liberty to take action against anyone including industrialists who adopt unfair practices. The chief minister would have been politically correct had she said that the industrialists or rather anyone should not be harassed without any reason," Sinha told IANS.

The founder of a city-based real estate company, who was present at the opening session of the BGBS-2022 summit, told IANS on condition of anonymity that the chief minister opened her speech brilliantly as she said that the West Bengal government was the first state government in the country to organise such a business summit after a gap of two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic. "The Chief Minister even said that this will encourage other state governments now to organise similar summits. These words were really applauded by the delegates. She should have maintained this note of positivity throughout," he said.

State BJP president Sukanta Majumdar said the Chief Minister's comments were totally unwarranted.

"In my opinion her constant worry about the ongoing central agency probes against her own party leaders and even some of her own family members, was reflected in her reference about industrialists being disturbed about central agencies. Her comments are enough to get the investors more worried, at a point of time when the existing law and order situation in the state is already a cause of concern for all concerned," Majumdar said.

IANS tried to talk to a couple of senior Trinamool MPs for their reactions. But both of them refused any sort of interaction on this issue out of the fear of getting censored.

--IANS<br>src/bg