Delhi

Musicians to accompany Mamata to London

Why take them for an hour-long performance, asks Left Front

Ten musicians and an actor-cum-MP are accompanying West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on her maiden London trip to attract investment. The list includes vocalist Rashid Khan, harmonium maestro Jyoti Goho, tabla exponent Bickram Ghosh and actor-politician Deepak Adhikari (Dev).

More than 40 industrialists and nearly 20 media personnel are also accompanying the Chief Minister. While the industrialists and the media personnel are paying for their travel and stay, the musicians are going as State guests with the government footing their bills. West Bengal has a debt burden of over Rs.2.5 lakh crore making it one of the most cash-strapped States.

Ms. Banerjee will leave for London on Sunday for five days. During her stay, she will attend several meetings, including one with the Minister of State for Employment, Priti Patel. Dozens of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) are expected to be signed between the British departments and the West Bengal government in the fields of health, urban planning, transportation, exploration of natural resources, education and trade.

However, the inclusion of actor-MP Deepak Adhikari (Dev) and musicians in the delegation has not gone down well with many. The Ministers usually do not fly artistes to another country to perform, unless there is a particular reason to do so.

Only one event

The musicians will perform for about an hour at the British Historical Museum on July 28.

“It will be an opportunity for cultural exchange to showcase Bengal’s vibrant culture. It will be the only cultural event during the tour,” said harmonium maestro Jyoti Goho.

Criticising the government’s decision to host so many musicians for an hour-long programme, Left Front chairperson Biman Bose said the Chief Minister’s team would not be able to attract any investment. “It is not clear from the composition of the delegation, if she is going to London for investments or for other reasons. Among the artistes in her delegation, many have already been to London. But for those who have not been there yet, this is an opportunity,” Mr. Bose said.

Reception

The Chief Minister is accompanied by a host of politicians and bureaucrats who will interact with their British counterparts.

The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, will host a reception in her honour.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 5:51:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/musicians-to-accompany-mamata-to-london/article7462274.ece

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