Kolkata: Even as the gap between the Congress and the Trinamool Congress has been widening on various issues, union Finance Minister and Congress stalwart Pranab Mukherjee Sunday hailed West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee for "responding" to aspirations and expectations of the people.
He also said West Bengal, under Banerjee`s leadership, is emerging as a new investment destination.
"Political choice exercised by the people of Bengal in the last (assembly) elections clearly indicates their expectations for change and new aspirations. I am happy that the new government, under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee, is responding to this new aspirations and expectations of the people," Mukherjee told the gathering at an Assocham programme here.
He also said the state was emerging as a new investment destination.
"Recent developments suggest that West Bengal is emerging as the new investment destination which rekindles optimism about the future of the state. As on December 2011, the state has about 900 live investment projects worth Rs 6.11 lakh crore," he said.
Mukherjee`s comment is significant in the context of the prevailing relationship between the Congress and Trinamool Congress, both at the centre and in the state, with tussle between the two parties gaining momentum.
While the Trinamool has been a major constituent of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance central government, the Congress is also a constituent of the Bengal government.
The gap between two parties had widened on the issues like Teesta water sharing dispute, FDI in retail and Lokayuktas in states. Another tussle between the two parties is imminent as Banerjee is going ahead with the order, asking state-sponsored and aided libraries to keep select newspapers only.
The chief minister has further fuelled the controversy by asserting that she may in future even ask people to stop buying certain newspapers "because a conspiracy is going on against us".
Terming this move as "shocking" and "most undemocratic", the state Congress Sunday demanded immediate withdrawal of the government order.
Praising the Mamata Banerjee-led government, Mukherjee, however, said with the change in the state government, there was a significant scope to improve policy environment to attract capital.
He said the state had got Rs.58,000 crore new investment and was the clear indication that the industrialists and prospective investors were looking at the state with both hope and expectations.
"The state attracted new investment worth Rs.58,000 crore. Manufacturing sector has got the major share - 36.5 percent of total live investment, this is followed by electricity (29.4 percent) and service sector (18.9 percent)," he added.