Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is “the most honest politician in India and she has fought against corruption”.
The certificate comes from no other than China’s Vice-President Li Yuanchao, who according to state finance minister Amit Mitra, told Banerjee: “An internal survey conducted by the Chinese team before we came here has shown you are the most honest politician in India and you have fought against corruption.”
Li’s purported assessment of Banerjee is certainly no music to the ears of the CPI-M who has party-to-party contact with the Communist Party of China. Even during the day the CPI-M alleged the Mamata Banerjee Government was trying to influence the CBI probe into the Saradha chief fund scam “as was revealed once again in the way state transport minister Madan Mitra had got bail in connection with the chit fund scam case.”
The scam, the CPI-M had repeatedly charged, had “proved false the Trinamul’s projection that Banerjee is a symbol of honesty.”
Li, a CPC Politburo member, also applauded Bengal’s “development and rapid growth rate,” Mitra said after the 45 minute meeting between the chief minister and the Chinese Vice-President and the 15-member delegation at the glass house in Eco Park.
While coming out of the meeting, Li told reporters: “The meeting was good. China and India are friends and steps will be taken to strengthen cooperation between the two countries”.
Li arrived in the city on Wednesday on a two day visit. His delegation included four ministers. On the other hand, Banerjee was accompanied by Mitra, municipal affairs minister Firad Hakim, police commissioner Surajit Kar Purakayastha, Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee and senior government officials.
Addressing media persons, Banerjee said that Li has invited her to China and expressed willingness to invest in the state. The Chinese delegation has said that Bengal is going to be their priority investment destination, the CM said.
Banerjee said the Chinese are eager to invest in infrastructure but are also keen on partnerships in the education hub, tourism, automobile hub and cultural exchange. She said a committee headed by chief secretary Sanjay Mitra would be set up to explore the various areas of investment and overall investment possibilities between China and Bengal.
This apart, the government has decided to set up a bus manufacturing unit under the brand name Bengal Zhongtong Ltd at Andal in Burdwan. The state government will have about 11 per cent share in the company. The company will manufacture 1500 buses a year. “Bengal is closest to China in respect of economic and geographic terms”, Banerjee said.