On the day her government completed two years in office,Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had an important guest at her doorstep: US ambassador to India Nancy J Powell.
The two had a one-hour meeting today at the chief ministers chamber at Writers Buildings,but neither of them said a word on what transpired between them.
The visit of the US diplomat follows her earlier visit to Bengal in September last year.
Before that,in May 2012,US secretary of state Hillary Clinton visited Kolkata and met Mamata at Writers. There,among other things,she invited Mamata to the US. Mamata on her part invited President Barack Obama to Kolkata.
Today Powell had a one-on-one meeting with the chief minister for some time,after which they were joined by finance minister Amit Mitra and the US consul general to Kolkata.
Speculations were rife in political circles as to what was discussed between Mamata and Powell. One issue that might have cropped up was FDI in retail the main cause of the snapping of ties between the Congress and the Trinamool Congress,a party vehemently opposed to FDI.
Powell arrived here yesterday evening. This morning she paid a visit to the factory of Pepsi-Fritolay at Dhulagarh in Howrah district. In the afternoon she met Governor M K Narayanan at Raj Bhavan.
Tomorrow she is scheduled to visit an NGO,CINI,which works for underprivileged children. Then she will address a joint session of various chambers of commerce based in Kolkata at Bengal Chamber of Commerce.
We are eagerly looking forward to her visit and are planning to talk to her about US collaboration in various business interests in West Bengal, Kallol Dutta,president of Bengal Chamber of Commerce,told The Indian Express.
But we have a Lakshman Rekha that we cannot cross. In the new industrial policy announced by the chief minister last week,the government says there is no scope for any big industry so we will have to focus on only small and medium industries.