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Mamata’s FDI for a cause

Mamata Banerjee may be all thorny when it comes to FDI in retail but she is all rosy when it comes to raising a few dollars for a cause.

The chief minister has shipped one of her paintings to the US for an auction for charity.

The painting, titled Flower Power, was sent to Children’s Hope India, an organisation started by Indian women in the US that raises funds for health and education projects for underprivileged children in India.

“We had written to her asking her to contribute a painting for the auction and she readily agreed,” said Dina Pahlajani, a member of the board, Children’s Hope India.

According to sources, Mamata painted Flower Power specifically for the auction in under an hour in her antechamber at Writers’ Buildings. The painting, which depicts purple flowers in a bed of green leaves, will be auctioned at the Children Hope India’s Gala, the 20th Anniversary Black & White Ball in New York City on October 21.

“The reserve price for the painting is $2,500,” said Pahlajani.

Children’s Hope, started in 1992 by a group of professionals, raises about half a million dollars in their annual gala. Starting with one pre-school project for 25 children, the organisation supports 25 projects, involving 50,000 children across India, including Calcutta, Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.

In the past, Children’s Hope has auctioned a bat and a ball autographed by Kapil Dev. This year, Mamata’s painting is the highlight of the auction.

“Once Mamata Banerjee read about the cause she readily agreed to paint something for the auction. She has had many requests for her paintings,” said a source.

Mamata’s fourth painting exhibition, “25 hours a day”, is scheduled in Calcutta this December.