Kolkata: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is planning an event in West Bengal in December or January to attract investments to the state and prepare a roadmap for the revival of its economy.
“We want to initiate a process of serious dialogue with all potential investors, industrialists, entrepreneurs and start-ups so that we can have a greater idea of what they want. As a political formation, we can respond to that. We hopefully would be able to get this initiative through by December 2020–January 2021. Whether it would be virtual or real, will depend on the Covid-19 situation,” said BJP lawmaker Swapan Dasgupta.
The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) dismissed the idea as a gimmick before the 2021 assembly elections.
“This is nothing but a poll gimmick. A business summit can only prove to be successful if it is organised by the government – Centre or state. The BJP-led government at the Centre has not been able to attract investment in the country. Instead, it is selling off assets,” said TMC lawmaker Saugata Roy.
The assembly elections are scheduled for 2021. A resurgent BJP has emerged as the main rival to the ruling TMC. In the 2019 parliament elections, BJP won 18 out of West Bengal’s 42 seats and TMC 22.
Dasgupta said other measures which they want to take up at the event include how to free-up land, which is one of the biggest problems. “We want to explore how the frozen assets can be opened up through a process of proactive intervention by the state and legislation if necessary,” Dasgupta added.
A BJP leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the party basically wants to find out the faults and loopholes in TMC’s industrial policy ahead of the elections that could be highlighted.
The TMC government’s annual Bengal Global Business Summit is also scheduled to be held in mid-December.
West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has criticised the annual summits saying more money has been spent in organising them than the investments they have attracted.
State finance minister Amit Mitra wrote to Dhankhar saying the annual business conclaves have helped improve the state’s GDP and enhanced investor perception.
Dasgupta said they are planning to have consultations in an organised way. “We are not so foolish to call it a sham business summit,” Dasgupta said when asked whether it would be a business summit to counter the state-sponsored event.