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“Buddhadeb a very positive man”

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NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul (left) with a four-member delegation from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, U.K., at the Kolkata airport on Sunday.
NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul (left) with a four-member delegation from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, U.K., at the Kolkata airport on Sunday.

Special Correspondent

He has done a very good job as West Bengal Chief Minister, says Swraj Paul

Kolkata: Non-resident Indian industrialist Lord Swraj Paul, who arrived here on Sunday believes Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is a “very positive man” and “has done a very good job” as West Bengal Chief Minister.

“Kolkata looks very impressive and is a much cleaner city…Coming to Kolkata is coming home and it is a marvellous feeling,” Lord Paul, who was last here two years ago, told The Hindu.

He also described the veteran Marxist leader, Jyoti Basu, as “a great man” and is looking forward to meeting him. “He is an old friend and I have great regard and affection for him. I would love to meet him,” he said.

Lord Paul is heading a high-level delegation of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, United Kingdom branch, to the State “to see how we can develop our friendship [between the U.K. and West Bengal] in various respects, including culture, trade and business.”

The visit is essentially “non-political” and aims at “improving relations between our two peoples,” Lord Paul said.

He also hoped to visit Singur in the State’s Hooghly district — the site of the Tata Motors’ automobile manufacturing project. “I am sure that it [the project] is the showpiece of West Bengal,” Lord Paul said.

“The Tatas have built a wonderful factory and their Indian car has caught the eye of the world.”

“A visit by Lord Paul to Singur should be avoided as it would amount to being a political visit to a controversial project,” Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly and senior Trinamool Congress leader, Partha Chatterjee, said.

Lord Paul and his associates are also expected to call on the Chief Minister, meet chairpersons of the House Committees of the State Assembly, and interact with representatives of FICCI during their six-day visit to the State, Speaker of the State Assembly, Halim, said.

Mr. Halim, who is also the chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, “is the largest-serving Speaker in the world who has very kindly extended us an invitation to come here,” Lord Paul said. He visited the Missionaries of Charity shortly after his arrival. There are also plans of a visit to Visva Bharati University in Santiniketan, an official of the State Assembly added.


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