After wooing voters, Mamata charms Bengal Inc

September 2, 2009

Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee rolls on with a bagful of bounty for one and all in West Bengal, even as the state’s corporate big wheels close ranks with her.Her eyes all set on the 2011 assembly elections, Banerjee shed the image of an anti-industry politician, using to the hilt the resources the world’s largest employer (Indian Railways) could offer.The industry-basher epithet stuck thick on Mamata after Tata Motors made an angry exit from Singur last year, bowing before a wave of protests over 400 acres of farmland acquired forcibly by the communist state government for the Nano plant.Just when a section of people and political pundits had written her off, Mamata’s gamble with the land movement and the state’s poor human rights record paid off.Now in a hurry to catch the 2011 train, Mamata (referred to in local media as chief minister-in-waiting) has impressed industrialists with her impatience to fast-track projects in West Bengal.She is now offering land to set up factories, emphasizing on setting up Public Private Partnership (PPP) models to develop the infrastructure of railway and industry.”Mamata means business” wrote The Telegraph after her August 21 meeting with industrialists. The largest circulated English daily from eastern India had less than a year ago written against the Trinamool Congress chief for driving out the Tatas from Singur.Mamata’s meeting was a durbar of sorts as she addressed members of the country’s three leading chambers of commerce and urged industrialists to set up shop on available railway land.”I urge you all to take the opportunity and use the land available to set up industry,” she told industrialists, chanting her slogan of Ma, Mati and Manush (Mother, Soil and People).Mamata said the railways had already prepared a land bank and about 112,000 acres are available.With her popular railway budget and various initiatives, the ghosts of Singur seemed to have been exorcised. Mamata said land disputes can be avoided with proper planning and human approach.The meeting, which has been organised by the Railways, cleared any doubts about her anti-industry posturing in the past.For now it is brand Mamata that rules Bengal as excitement builds up in the run-up to her big show in 2011.


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Politiasians like mamata can not be believed they can not think rationally. Look at what comments she made about respected group and person like tata. mamta cant be trusted

Posted by raodm | Report as abusive

I think mamata is wooing industrialists to secure her vote bank.

Posted by sreya basu | Report as abusive

Mamata is rehearsing for the Chief Minister’s post…intelligent politician!

Posted by s. ganesan | Report as abusive

Politicians are the chameleons of this big zoo called earth. I hold no candle for the State’s Ruling Party. But I do not endorse Mamata Banerjee at all. She began by distributing first class Golden passes for Life to 200 members of her “intellectual” bank who backed her PORIBORTON CHAI brouhaha. But has she ever stepped into a first class compartment of an Indian train? The seats are terrible with the upholstery pulled off, the toilets stink to high heaven and some trains I think have dispensed with first class. Besides, Amala Shankar is 92 so I do not think she will even step into a train used as she is, to her four-wheelers and the airoplane. Mahasweta may benefit the most because she mostly travels by train. As for Suvaprasanna and some others, I think they only travel abroad so the pass will probably be bartered like some of them are reportedly bartering off sections of the land the WB Government gave them to ‘develop’ their work and extend ‘help’ to others.The renaming of Tollygune Metro was another terrible fiasco with the Manush being the most oppressed among all while the Maas walked in wearing clothes that are far from the Maati she talks of.But then, as I have said before, politicians are the biggest chameleons in this zoo called earth. Or, is it India?

Posted by SHOMA A. CHATTERJEE | Report as abusive

As you see more of the likes of mamata, you tend to believe……You can’t learn too soon that the most useful thing about a principle is that it can always be sacrificed to expediency. — W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM

Posted by Debasis Chakrabarti | Report as abusive

great piece and so well written. Thats the truth of the day…railway tracks right up to the writers’. With brand Mamata on a rollout…now Tata can only say “its not her land”. Alas! singur.Very thoughtful and well crafted. thanks for a nice incisive piece.

Posted by arindam basu | Report as abusive

Mamta cant be trusted ? okay but we all need her for a break!

Posted by Raja | Report as abusive

Great Sir…

Posted by Joydeep | Report as abusive

Sir…Great article…Mamata banerjee was not a good politicians but had learnt to manage things in a better way which she had learnt from her past experiences…She is a typical “bidobha Pisimaa” type lady…But her punchline “Maa Maati Maanush” worked wonder…winning her a historic Loksabha election 2009The same Mamata whose image comeout of as that of a anti industry and is held responsible for Nano plant’s shift from Bengal to Gujrat is now saying Industry and Agriculture should move hand in hand for the development of state…But one thing is sure for her…she is a Mass leader… and her selfconfidence one cannot ignore…In 2004 she was the lone leader from her party to be elected as MP but she turned that with her sheer confidence 19+1=20 in the present Loksabha…

Posted by Joydeep | Report as abusive

Indeed, Mamata is trying to do some damage control in post-Singur West Bengal. Even if the points on land acquisition in Singur raised by her were right, she, perhaps, bungled in execution and in the process naxal elements got control over the protests.Though having emerged as the face of opposition in West Bengal, it was her idiosyncracies that pulled her down time and again. Perhaps she has learnt her political lessons and one hopes she will keep her balance going into the assembly elections in the state in 2011.

Posted by pradip | Report as abusive

“Brand Mamata” …??? What does it mean Mr. Dhar? May be she (Banerjee) is an honest politician. But, I really don’t think she has that capability to rise from the ashes and become a brand ambassador of the state. But yes, she’s got support in past few elections as the ruling communists have miserably failed in their mission to industrialise the state. And another factor, the Congress-Trinamool alliance, really clicked this time and the April-May general election saw a marginal swing in the opposition vote. It made the whole difference.To be very frank with you my friend, the most unfortunate part of our state is that all politicians here gamble with the interests of common people. Nobody bothers about the economic betterment. They utilise people and their sentiments and finally, when everything is done, they just throw them off (as and when they come to power). If we just cudgel our brain and recall, the communist exactly did the same thing before coming to the government more than three decades ago. Their militant trade unionism ruined the prospect of state’s whole economy and it simply changed people’s attitude towards work.Mamata Banerjee, single-handedly, can do nothing. She is, unfortunately and as usually, surrounded by all opportunists who will never allow her to perform for the interests of common people.I am sorry, but that’s the fate of West Bengal today. I feel pity for all my friends and foes here. All I can do is – I wish them luck.

Posted by Soudhriti Bhabani | Report as abusive

What Bengal needs is good planning and management irrespective of party or ideology. A capitalist style policy with least government interventions and restrictios while setting and enforcement of rules and regulations, a strong police force, a commitment towards preserving private property, tax credits for charity by the industries, an environmental policy, building schools both at the primary level as well as vocational level, and a better understanding of the workings of a capitalist system namely USA.

Posted by Tilak Banerjee | Report as abusive

@A capitalist style policy with least government interventions and restrictios while setting and enforcement of rules and regulations,”- Posted by Tilak Banerjee-Seems like a case of USA paranoid of communism.@and a better understanding of the workings of a capitalist system namely USA.”- Posted by Tilak Banerjee-USA will be happy to know what makes it work (and what does not).

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

We the Bengalis residing outside Bengal are ashamed that we have given birth to a politics under leadership of Mamta Banerjee that has no goal only destructive opposition by violent means . By supporting heinous crime of Maoist she has amply proved her intention clearly . She is out to destroy all cultural values of highly placed Bengal . She can become a MAO or Hitler as the time demands . She is a true chameleon.

Posted by Supriyo Sengupta | Report as abusive

To,Mamta Didi, now as you have achieved your goal of destabilising Bengal’s 32 years record of peace and communal harmony as a peace loving bengali I request you to let bengal not to go back to your old violent days of 70s unleashed by you and your old friends like Subroto Mukherjee,Soumen Mitra and other oldies. Please guide the present young generation to a violence free politics of coordination and cooperation with all politcal parties for the betterment of West Bengal.

Posted by supriyo sengupta | Report as abusive