Haldia (West Bengal), Jan 15 (IANS) An industrialist climbing the dais at an investors' summit to sing a popular Rabindra Sangeet. The perhaps unseen scene was made possible Tuesday courtesy West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Impressed by Dhunseri Petrochem and Tea chairman C.K. Dhanuka's ability to play the violin on an earlier occasion, Banerjee cajoled him to sing at the opening of the "Bengal Leads" summit organised in this industrial cum port town of East Midnapore district.
"Mr. Dhanuka please come up and sing us a song. Violin, violin," she kept repeating as the seemingly embarrassed industrialist walked towards the stage.
Banerjee then asked music company Saregama's Sanjiv Goenka (chairman of RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group) to accompany Dhanuka.
Dhanuka began singing the evergreen hindi song "Ae Mere Pyare Watan" and later Rabindranath Tagore's masterpiece "Jodi tor daak sune keu na ase tobe ekla cholo re" (If no one responds to your call, then go your own way alone) as Goenka, Banerjee and others present on the dais hummed along.
At Banerjee's insistence, then everybody stood up to sing the national anthem that brought the programme to a close.
The opposition lost no time in taking pot shots about the music session at the summit, being held with the declared objective of drawing investment.
"She had put up so many of her pictures, posters, made lavish arrangements. But while she kept on calling the investors, nobody turned up. In the end, she had to sing Ekla cholo re", quipped Surjya Kanta Mishra of the Communist Party of India-Marxist in Kolkata.
Banerjee, who took the centrestage at the function, in her inimitable style called the bureaucrats by their first names and made them stand one by one in her bid to introduce them to the gathering.
She also had an interactive session with the investors and went on calling a few of them by the names of the companies they represent.
"NTPC, NTPC is there any one from NTPC," she enquired a few times. There was no reply. None from the central PSU was present. Unperturbed she went to claim that the power corporation was setting up several projects in the state. "Alipurduar, file is clear.. Also at Katwa, and Raghunathpur they will set up plants.
Before that she had called out "SAIL" (Steel Authority of India Limited) a few times looking for its chairman, who had stayed away. A woman representing the company rose from her seat, and Banerjee made her to parrot her claims that the PSU was setting up a Rs.20,000 crore project.
The chief minister also made a faux-pas in identifying a senior business manager.
"Deveswarji is here, give him a mike," Banerjee said pointing towards ITC executive director Kurush Grant mistaking him for company chairman Y.C. Deveswar.
Looking a bit embarrassed, Grant stood up. "Mr Deveswar is in Delhi. I am Kurush Grant representing the ITC."
Some of the investors listed the problems they were facing. Banerjee asked one of them "This is your company, run it well", while another was told "This is a problem which the centre can solve. I shall take it up with the prime minister".
She directed some of them to the bureaucrats concerned, calling the officials either by their first names or names of the departments. "MSME, MSME,", she called out to locate the medium, small and micro enterprises secretary.