Either Mamata lost her head then or has lost it now, says Biman Bose

A mention of the Trinamool Congress seeking the “entry of large domestic and foreign capital in Retail trade” in its election manifesto, ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, triggered a controversy here on Thursday.

While one of the issues behind the Trinamool’s decision to pull out of the United Progressive Alliance government is the entry of Foreign Direct Investment in multi-brand retail, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee brushed it off as “a printing-mistake” in the manifesto.

But the matter – raised by the State leaderships of both the Left and the Congress – obviously came as an embarrassment to the Trinamool and the document was removed from the party’s official website in the evening.

In a section titled “What the Trinamool Congress wants, at a glance,” point 42 on Page 81 reads: “The entry of large domestic and foreign capital in retail trade will occur.”

Biman Bose, chairman of the State Left Front Committee and Pradip Bhattacharya, president of the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee mentioned the matter at separate press conferences during the day.

“That there is no consistency between what she [Ms. Banerjee] says and what she does has become clear from the election manifesto itself,” Mr. Bose said.

Inconsistent stand

There was a contradiction in Ms. Banerjee’s response to the controversy as well. On the one hand, she said that it was “a printing-mistake” in a “draft manifesto,” but on the other hand she alleged: “the manifesto is being altered and being projected according to their interests.”

When it was pointed out that Ms. Banerjee described it as merely a printing- mistake, Mr. Bose said that it was difficult to believe that the mistake had not been corrected in three years.

“One thing was said in 2009 and just the opposite is being said now. Either she lost her head then or has lost it now,” Mr. Bose said.

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