Was it a snub? Has Didi’s Delhi visit turned ‘damp squib’?
An angry Trinamul supremo set to step up attack on Congress by opposing FDI in retail and opening of aviation sector, had to swallow her bitter pill.
"Going to plead for Bengal," Ms Banerjee had replied cryptically before leaving for the airport in Kolkata on Tuesday, Nov 22. However, most of the time during her two days stay in the capital, she confined herself to meet the party leaders and union ministers from her party only. Initially, there was no confimation from either side whether the chief minister, who has been demanding special financial assistance for her cash-starved state, would meet the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh during her stay in the capital.
The party also mid-way decided to oppose FDI in retail and aviation sectors and attack government on the price rise.
“We have been asked by the leadership to oppose proposed 51 per cent FDI in retail and also 26 per cent FDI in the avaition sector. On the price rise front, we are to criticise the government,” a senior party leader said.
The union cabinet cleared the 51 per cent FDI in politically hyper-sensitive multi-brand retail on Nov 24 wherein her nominee Dinesh Trivedi reportedly registered the party's protest on the same. However, the Commerce minister Anand Sharma pooh poohed Trivedi's mild protest saying he has already discussed the matter with Ms Banerjee, who on her part hours before the cabinet meet chose to speak ambiguosly.
Fielding questions from reporters, the Trinamul chief said opening multi-brand retail to foreign investment may require further discussion adding the government needs to protect farmers' interest.
"We are always pro-farmers. We can keep the country smile only because of farmers and industry. Let industry smile, let agriculture also smile,” she said.
The West Bengal chief minister had arrived in the capital to press the Centre for financial assistance to her cash-strapped government as well as urge the Congress leadership to discipline a section of Bengal leaders including the likes of Congress MP Ms Deepa Dasmunshi for their repeated vitriolic outbursts against the Trinamul-led government in the state.
“My understanding is that the vocal West Bengal Congress leaders have also toned down …. At least there is no fresh ourburts from Ms Dasmunshi,” said another party leader trying to underline that all seems well between the allies.