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Headed to Gujarat, but iffy on Bengal

Cyrus Mistry

Calcutta, Jan. 8: The Tata Group’s new chairman Cyrus Mistry will attend Vibrant Gujarat, the two-day global investors’ meet the Narendra Modi government hosts from Friday.

There was, however, no confirmation yet whether Mistry would show up at Bengal Leads, though the state’s industry department has sent him an invite for the three-day investor summit at Haldia next week.

An official in Modi’s office confirmed today that Mistry, who took over from Ratan Tata on December 28, would participate in the valedictory session of the Gujarat event along with the chief minister.

No one from the Tata Group either confirmed or denied the development.

Gujarat, home to Tata’s Nano small car project after it was forced out of Bengal following land-related problems, was one of the few states Mistry had visited as chairman-designate of the Tata Group.

In October, Tata had visited Gandhinagar along with Mistry and met Modi. They later went to Sanand, where the Nano factory is located.

While Mistry’s participation at the January 11-12 Gandhinagar meet — expected to attract investors from across the country and the world — appears certain, there was no confirmation on his visit to Bengal Leads.

Bengal’s industry department has invited Mistry to attend the January 15-17 event at Haldia that Mamata is scheduled to inaugurate. When Calcutta hosted the event last year, Tata, then chairman of the Tata Group, had not been personally invited, though invitations were sent to CEOs and MDs of some group companies operating here.

Sources said the invitation to Mistry appeared to be part of the Bengal government’s strategy to warm up to the new Tata Group boss and possibly resolve the Singur tangle.

Industries minister Partha Chatterjee had appeared to hint at such a strategy, when asked last month whether the state government could look at an out-of-court settlement with Tata Motors. “I will speak only on December 28,” he had said, referring to the day the transition at the Tata Group was to take place.

The comment didn’t go down well with the bosses at Bombay House, the headquarters of the $100 billion group. “To suggest that Tata was an enemy and his stepping down would result in quick resolution of the Singur problem is crude and obnoxious,” a source had said, adding such comments could delay the process of resolving the dispute, now before the Supreme Court.