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Figures fly in industry duel

Calcutta, Aug. 10: Ratan Tata’s question on “industrial development” in Rajarhat has prompted leaders to quote numbers to drive home their points.

If it was Trinamul all-India president Mukul Roy yesterday, it was state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury today — Bengal’s political leaders have brought about a change in their discourse to justify their positions, at least for the time-being.

Congress MP Chowdhury today rolled out figures from the Planning Commission and the Economic Survey to punch holes in Roy’s claims on the state’s industrial growth.

“Roy’s attempts to convince Ratan Tata on the state’s growth are laughable. In 2012-13 financial year, the state SGDP was at 15.23 per cent and in 2013-14 it was 14.14 per cent. The state GSDP has actually come down. States like Puducherry, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir are ranked above Bengal. These are not my figures but from the Planning Commission report and Economic Survey released by the Bengal government,” said Chowdhury.

Addressing a press conference at Bidhan Bhavan, Chowdhury called Roy’s statement a lie and distributed a printed statement with figures to substantiate his claim.

Yesterday, while answering a question on Tata’s observation on the industrial scenario in Bengal, Roy had said: “A comparison of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with the State Gross Domestic Product (SGDP) will make clear whether or not industry is happening in Bengal.”

Roy’s party colleague and state education minister Partha Chatterjee, too, had responded to Tata’s query saying industrial zones were scattered specific zones.

The responses coming from the two top leaders in the ruling party were far off from the attack launched by the state industry and finance minister Amit Mitra who had hit back at Tata saying he had lost his mind.

Ever since Mitra and minister Firhad Hakim condemned Tata, the Trinamul response has been a guarded one. “This is how a debate should be carried out between parties. When it comes to key issues like industry, investment, finances, statistics and figures add credibility to the claim,” said a senior Trinamul leader not wishing to be named.

Over the years, a number of leaders from Trinamul and from the CPM, when the Left was in power, have taken recourse to crude language to draw applause from the supporters. The Trinamul MP Tapas Paul’s “rape-and-kill” speech has turned into a legal battle.