In an effort to dismantle her anti-industry image, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee played a genial host to top corporates in a post-Durga Puja get - together here last night.
Most of the industrialists enjoying good rapport with the Budddhadeb Bhattacharjee government turned up at the ’Bijoya Sammilani’ held at the posh Ballygunge area here.
The invitations, signed by Ms. Banerjee’s close aide and Leader of the Opposition Partha Chatterjee, were sent to more than 150 big names in the industry, industrial houses and chambers.
Ms. Banerjee greeted the guests with folded hands and exchanged pleasantries at the event where politics was discreetly kept out of her interactions.
The big names present included RPG Enterprise vice - chairman Sanjeev Goenka, Ambuja Realty chairman Harsh Neotia, Keventer Group chairman M K Jalan, Tata Ryerson MD and Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Sandipan Chakraborty, Descon MD S Radhakrishnan, Acclaris MD Kalyan Kar and Patton MD Sanjay Budhia.
Karan Paul of the Apeejay Group, J P Chowdhury of Titagarh Wagons and S K Roy of Peerless and Pawan Ruia of Dunlop besides industrialists Rajeev Kaul, S B Ganguly and Prasun Mukherjee were also present.
Beth Payne of the US Consulate and Sanjay Wadhwani of the British Deputy High Commission were also seen mingling freely with the guests.
The event was described unique as the business community departing from the practice of interacting with politicians through formal programmes attended a purely social gathering for the first time.
Seemingly happy seeing the big turn-out, Ms. Banerjee said that representatives of as many as 17 chambers of commerce participated in the get-together.
With Assembly elections in West Bengal due next year, Ms. Banerjee’s initiative was interpreted as an attempt to erase her anti-industry image created in the aftermath of the Nandigram and Singur developments.
Leading industrialists of the State vied with one another in showering praises on the Railways Minister for holding such a get-together.
“She made sure that she greeted everyone, though she kept the interaction very brief. Each of the guests got to have a word with her and none was left out,” industrialist J K Saraf said.
“It was warm, relaxed and enjoyable,” Mr. Goenka said.
Ms. Banerjee stressed that she was interested in more such meetings. “We do not get to meet that often... I want to hold such programmes more frequently.”