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We are grassroots people: Mamata on PM's attack on anti-reformists

Posted on Dec 15, 03:33PM | UNI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today sought to answer Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's criticism of FDI in multi-brand retail opponents, saying the vision of her party was rooted in the ground.

"We are grassroots people, and we are proud of that," Ms Banerjee told reporters here when asked to react to the Prime Minister's remarks that those who were opposing the economic reforms were not up to date on what was happening in the world.

"I am afraid that those who are opposed to these moves are either ignorant of global realities or are constrained by out-dated ideologies," the Prime Minister had said speaking at the FICCI Annual General Meeting which Ms Banerjee also addressed two hours later.

The West Bengal Chief Minister, who is also the Trinamool Congress chief, a former ally of the ruling UPA government at the Centre, had recently tried to bring in a no-trust motion over the FDI issue after quitting the ruling alliance.

In her today's speech at the FICCI AGM meeting, she accused the Centre of discriminating against her state.

The Centre has double standards. It must have a uniform policy regarding the states, she said.

Ms Banerjee sought to underline that when she took charge of the state, she found it depleted and decimated, but now its economy was picking up, and pointed out that the state's GDP in the first quarter of this year was 6.9 per cent as against 5.5 of the national GDP.

The Chief Minister invited industrialists to invest in West Bengal which she said was at a very advantageous position geographically.

Replying to a question from the audience on land policy, she said it was very clear and pro-agriculture in that no farm land would be acquired forcibly, and as far as the industry was concerned, land banks had been set up to make land available to entrepreneurs.