If the chief ministers of Gujarat and West Bengal had met after hosting business summits in their respective states, what could they have spoken? (Proceedings at the two summits were in stark contrast to each other and the opposition and media in Bengal mocked the Mamata Banerjee government for the pathetic show at the Bengal Leads organised in Haldia earlier this week). OneIndia imagines a conversation between Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and Banerjee on the issue.
Narendra Modi (NM): Hello Ms Banerjee. Heard about your Bengal Leads, how was it?
Mamata Banerjee (MB): Great Mr Modi. We have done great. Bengal is leading the world. See, how we have changed our state within two years. Can you think of such development?
NM (grins): Really! But I saw a cow moving around at your business summit in some Bengali daily. Were the animals also invited?
MB: Cow! I did not see any cow. There were only investors and businessmen. The cow must have been a CPI(M) one! And this media... it's only making negative publicity. Who asked them to publish photo of a cow? My ministers were there. Party members were there. Why not their photo? I will take action against them.
NM: Okay, okay, please cool down Didi. I understand your problem. But did you get any investment proposal for your state during the summit?
MB: Yes, why not? We already have agarbatti industries. Scrap metal factories are there. We are leading in small-scale industries. What else do we need?
NM: But, I was actually asking about big industries for they generate employment. Agarbatti factories are not going to do that. What is your plan about inviting big corporates? I heard not a single big industrialist attended your summit. Is that true?
MB: I don't care whether the Tatas or the Ambanis come to our state. We can do without them. We will write our own success story.
NM: But how can that be possible without investment? Your state has fallen back all these years and if you do not have any policy or prompt initiative, then how will you register success? It is not that easy Ms Banerjee.
MB: Don't give me advice. I know what to do and what not. You can say all this easily for you have no CPI(M) in your state. You know how they create obstacles in our state? You know how much debt they have left for us to pay? The Centre is not helping us, either.
NM: I am sorry Didi, your points are fully out of place. As far as I know, it was you who had forced the Tatas leave West Bengal and I had invited them to come to our state. And there is no point in blaming others. Opposition will always be there. I am sure you had known about the financial condition of the state at the time of taking over. This is where leadership matters. It is true that in Gujarat, we have a culture that always speaks in favour of industrialisation. But that doesn't mean that I have no opposition.If you have inherited huge debt from your predecessor and if the Centre is not helping you, then you should try all the more hard to generate resources for your state. I should remind you that the Centre is not a great supporter for me, either. But that doesn't pull us back.
MB: You have so many advantages. You have ports. We have nothing.
NM: This is not true. Every state has its own advantage. Bengal has a strong agricultural basis and a very good infrastructure of education. Why doesn't you capitalise on that? You speak about Ma, Mati and Manush. Why then you stress those words really by doing something for the women's financial development and agricultural growth? You don't have a land policy either. How can you expect industrialists to come to your state if you don't have a clear vision?
MB: We don't take land of the poor. It is not our plan. We are pro-people.
NM: You are actually doing more harm to the common people than good by taking these stands. If you don't take land, the industrialists will show little enthusiasm in investing in your state. The land resources in your state are so fragmented that it is impossible for any investor to buy land of his own. You are actually running away from your responsibility.
MB: Don't tell me all this. We are organising these summits every year, unlike you, who organises Vibrant Gujarat every two years.
NM: So what does that mean? If you do not have a vision, even holding summits every month won't help. I have also heard that you are organising beach festivals like those in Goa. You don't have any infrastructure and you directly aim to become Goa. This is nothing but hollow populist politics that you practise. Why don't you make a team of experts who can guide you? You can't be master in all departments.
MB: I know what is good for the state.
NM: That is a wrong concept. This is an age of speciality. I am never afraid to take valuable insights from experts and I have a team to back all decisions. I take care of the fact that no decision is delayed because of political bottlenecks. But if you try to do all by yourself, things are bound to get delayed and may never materialise at all.
MB: Industrialisation in Bengal is just a matter of time, Mr Modi. I am ready with my action plan.
NM: You sound over-confident. It is indeed not so easy. I thought the way you speak to industrialists, it is too casual and arrogant at times. Light words don't bring industries, they can work at filmfare awards. I suspect you do not have any serious concern for industrialisation in your state.
MB: I don't agree.
NM: That is for you to decide. But the way people are reacting to your initiative for industrialisation, it is clear that you are actually building a house in the air. But anyhow, you were the one who shattered the dream of Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. No wonder, you have changed little even if your role has changed.