Arun Jaitley ‘accepts’ Mamata Banerjee’s invite to West Bengal business summit, state BJP peeved

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee clashed with BJP on several occasions at the helm of the anti-demonetisation campaign.

Written by Aniruddha Ghosal | Kolkata | Published:January 14, 2017 3:38 am
Mamata Banerjee and Arun Jaitley. Archive Mamata Banerjee and Arun Jaitley. Archive

Finance minister Arun Jaitley has allegedly accepted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s invite to attend the upcoming third edition of the Bengal Global Business Summit, much to the surprise of the state government and chagrin of his party’s state unit. Mamata had sent Jaitley an invite for the event — which kicks off in Kolkata on January 20 — weeks before Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made the announcement of demonetisation. A lot has changed since then, with Mamata clashing with the BJP on several occasions while at the helm of the anti-demonetisation campaign. Sources said she hadn’t followed up on the invite.

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“The finance minister has confirmed that he will be coming for the summit. Honestly, no one in the government had expected him to. This shows how important the event is,” said a source. Jaitley had attended the first two editions of the summit as well.

The source added that the chief minister had “reached out to Arun Jaitley on his birthday in December”, maintaining that their personal relationship hadn’t suffered. While the BJP is yet to comment officially on the issue, a party leader in New Delhi maintained that Jaitley — who has to get the GST Bill passed by its April 2017 deadline — “is in favour of minimising the stand-off between the two parties”.

The state BJP, however, is not pleased. “Like 2016, the Centre is once again deflating our criticism of Trinamool Congress. Right now the situation is poised very critically. How can a minister of the government come for an event like this when it appears that the state police will arrest Babul Supriyo? It is a bizarre situation,” said a state committee leader.

Last year, a number of BJP leaders like Suresh Prabhu, Nitin Gadkari and Piyush Goyal, apart from Jaitley, were among the “major stars” who attended the summit. “As of now, it seems they will not be attending,” said another source. Last year’s summit had taken place in the middle of campaigning ahead of the Assembly elections in 2016 and a number of BJP leaders had criticised Jaitley for sharing the stage with Mamata.

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  1. J
    Jan 14, 2017 at 1:12 am
    A true Indian. Please don't forget the Ramayan, where Lord RAMA goes to the Ravana's pooja a night before the war. Take the enemy at the right place and the right time to win.
    1. A
      Ankush Dey
      Jan 14, 2017 at 1:55 am
      At least one union minister must be present otherwise how can you manage the centre-state federalism. Also, Jaitley may give a spin through his speech at the summit which Mamata now may have to be cautious of. In addition, for Jaitley, getting GST implemented this year matters. If you remember, Mamata wanted Modi removed and another central govt formed under Advani or Jaitley - meaning she too may have wanted Jaitley's presence at the summit. So, as politicians, they are keeping the window open for quick shake-hands!
      1. S
        sasanka ghosh
        Jan 15, 2017 at 12:13 pm
        Jaitley attending is not the issue but the reaction and aggressive posturing which top BJP leaders should have done is shocking!!. As BJP voter and bengali I find it shocking,. What that Siddharnath Sigh had done to be in charge of West Bengal. Modi has surrounded himself with little known non electable technocrats who by hook or crook ,irrespective of BJP's fortune want to enjoy the Lyuten Delhi and so the status quo.
        1. M
          Mar 20, 2017 at 7:11 am
          All Congress Parties in India have become Extremely Corrupt includimg TMC , NCP..
          1. M
            Mar 20, 2017 at 7:08 am
            SCAMGRESS party product TMC is into Sarada , rose valley and many more scams.
            1. A
              Anand Ch
              Jan 14, 2017 at 1:07 am
              Roles and politics are different.
              1. R
                Ramamurthi Kolagunta
                Jan 14, 2017 at 10:02 am
                A mentally unstable person needs to be dealt with psychologically and not legally. Ignoring the actions of the person is the first step. This Modi has done. The next step is a psychological treatment. Hopefully Jaitley is attending the summit for this purpose. If it fails the next is medical intervention.
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